CAN WE TALK: Al Gore was told to stay in his car at the Salem witch trials!

THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2013!

Part 4—Piers Morgan knew all along: A remarkable event occurred last night on Piers Morgan’s CNN program.

Halley’s comet is visible every 75 years. That’s roughly how often you get to see this type of TV event.

Here’s what happened:

Good God! One of Morgan’s guests corrected the Iconic Fake Fact which virtually defines the discussion of the Zimmerman case. And when his guest corrected this bogus fact, Morgan and his other guests quickly said she was right!

This created an obvious impression: Morgan may have known all along that this factual claim was bogus.

What is an Iconic Fake Fact? Almost all our modern-day pundit witch trials have one. We refer to the bogus factual claims the nation’s pundits recite most often—the fake claim which defines the village’s case against some modern-day witch.

Here are six Iconic Fake Facts drawn from the years of this site:
Six (or eight) Iconic Fake Facts:
(1) Bill Clinton had an affair with “a 21-year-old intern.”
(2) We now know that Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth.
(3) Al Gore said he invented the Internet/inspired Love Story/discovered Love Canal.
(4) Joe Wilson debunked the 16 words.
(5) Mitt Romney drove to Canada with a dog strapped to the roof of his car.
(6) George Zimmerman was told to stay in his truck.
There are many more fake facts, of course—and we’re ignoring all the fake facts pundits recite about policy matters. In our view, those are six (or eight) of the most dramatic Iconic Fake Facts concerning public personalities.

Last night, the impossible happened. The most recent of those fake facts was debunked on live TV! Here’s how the hit went down:

One of Morgan’s sociopathic-leaning guests had just repeated the current Iconic Fake Fact. It was perhaps the three millionth time this has occurred on Morgan’s iconic fake program.

But uh-oh! Morgan turned to former defense attorney Mel Robbins, a CNN/HLN contributor who often seems to know what she’s talking about. This unusual trait tends to create confusion on Morgan’s program.

Last night, though, Morgan quickly copped when Robbins corrected that “fact.” He gave the impression that he may have known the truth all along.

CNN doesn’t make much videotape available. For that reason, we have to give you the transcript as CNN presents it, without any opportunity to do any proof-reading.

But according to the official transcript, this is what happened after one of Morgan’s guests uttered the Iconic False Statement: George Zimmerman was told to stay in the car! This basically jibes with what we saw when we watched the program:
MORGAN (7/10/13): Mel, I can see you shaking your head vigorously. You've been in court. Why are you so aggressively “anti” that statement?

ROBBINS: I'll tell you why. First of all, he wasn't told to stay in his car. He was told that, “We don't need you to do that, sir.” And he—

MORGAN: I think we—let me clarify that. Let me clarify that because that's—

ROBBINS: It's true.

MORGAN: I can clarify that because I think that—Actually, exactly what happened was that Zimmerman had got out of his car and was trying—

ROBBINS: Correct.

MORGAN: —he said, to find the street name and it was at that point that he was asked, “Are you following?” And he said yes or whatever it is, and [then the dispatcher said] “We don't need you to do that.” But he was actually outside the car.
Morgan jumbled some of the facts, as is required on cable. But judging from that exchange, Morgan may have known all along that Zimmerman was already out of his car and following Trayvon Martin when the police dispatcher told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”

Zimmerman was already out of his car! This fact is quite clear from the text and the tape of his non-emergency phone call.

This fact became quite clear last year. But America’s pundits have spent the last year repeating a different, fake fact.

It isn’t the biggest deal in the world. It doesn't mean that Zimmerman has to be found not guilty. But no, Virginia: George Zimmerman wasn’t told to stay in his car! And yet, that is perhaps the most sacred Fake Fact in the large collection of ginned-up claims which drive this ginned-up discussion.

George Zimmerman was told to stay in the car! In the pundit corps' current witch trial, that Iconic False Statement takes the place of their earlier hit, “Al Gore said he invented the Internet.” It’s the bogus fact all pundits repeat as they work to make the case against the current witch sound stronger.

(Quick note: When sociopaths start dunking witches, this is always the way they do it. They’ve always dunked their witches this way. As Woody Guthrie wrote about Pretty Boy Floyd: “Every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name.”)

This is the way the sociopaths went after black people in the Old South. (Just reread To Kill A Mockingbird.) This is the way the sociopaths perform on cable today.

Back to last night’s appearance of Halley’s comet:

Morgan had invited several ethically challenged guests to help him discuss the case—and Morgan himself seemed perfectly happy to let his guests invent facts. Even after Robbins corrected that Iconic Fake Fact, criminal defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau offered this astonishing statement, without a word of challenge:
MESEREAU (7/10/13): Well, Piers, I don't practice in Florida, but I have to believe there's going to be a jury instruction on causation. In other words, if you commit a crime, you have to—there has to be a causation element proven. In other words, you have to have caused what the crime was. And I have to believe these prosecutors are going to look at the jury and say, “Is it a Florida law allows someone to profile someone, disobey police instructions, bring a deadly weapon with them, confront someone, threaten them, assault them, and then, when they respond, shoot them dead?

“Is that self-defense in Florida? Ladies and gentlemen, you're going to decide that question.” And I suspect it's not so simple.

MORGAN: Let’s take a short break.
As is required on cable, Mesereau’s statement didn’t quite parse. He seemed to conflate the judge’s possible jury instruction with the prosecutor’s possible closing statement.

But in that remarkable presentation, Mesereau seemed to assert all kinds of “facts not in evidence.” He seemed to assert that Zimmerman disobeyed police instructions, then confronted Martin, threatened Martin and assaulted Martin.

We know of very little evidence that those actions occurred. Those claims surely hasn’t been proven. But throughout the program, Morgan kept letting Mesereau make these highly aggressive assertions.

Morgan never noted the fact that these claims haven't been proven. He never asked Mesereau to defend or support his claims.

What kind of people behave this way? Partial answer: This is how people behaved at the Salem witch trials. In the modern age, it’s the way our “journalists” behaved when they started asserting, in unison, “We now know that Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth.”

That claim about Flowers was simply insane, but “journalists” stood in line to recite it. (Frank Rich was the biggest such clown.) And in the past year, “journalists” have stood in line to repeat another fake fact:

George Zimmerman was told to stay in his truck! All pundits know they should say it!

George Zimmerman was told to stay in his truck! Endlessly, the claim has been stated and implied on Morgan’s show. As of last night, we’d never seen the brain-challenged host challenge or correct it.

Last night, it was Judge Glenda Hatchett who asserted the Iconic Fake Fact. Hatchett was a corporate attorney, then a clown of syndication. (She starred for nine years on her own clownish TV program, Judge Hatchett.)

First, we’ll show you Hatchett’s statement. Then, we’ll show you what she said when Robbins, cast as Halley’s comet, corrected her standardized groaner.

Below, you see Hatchett make the statement which Robbins would quickly correct:
HATCHETT: I tell you, Tom [Mesereau] has just articulated so perfectly. This is a man who was told to stay in the car. He has a weapon. I believe he confronted him. The question is going to really become whether the prosecution has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is no question in my mind that he was the aggressor and, in my mind, he has lost the right to say he was self-defending himself if he is the one who's the aggressor in the situation.

And you're right, Trayvon then also has rights in this matter. And this is a very complicated case and it's going to be very interesting to see what the jury ends up doing with this.

MORGAN: Mel, I can see you shaking your head vigorously. You've been in court. Why—why are you so aggressively “anti” that statement?
“This is a man who was told to stay in the car.” Top pundits know they should start with that claim, even though it’s false.

To her credit, Hatchett was willing to say that she only believes that Zimmerman confronted Martin. But Morgan never asked her to say why she believes that. And trust us:

If not for Robbins, Morgan himself would never have corrected Hatchett’s groaner.

What did Hatchett do when Robbins corrected her groaner? Because CNN is stingy with videotape, we can’t proofread the official transcript. But that transcript provides the gist of what we saw when we watched last night’s program.

Instantly, Hatchett accepted correction! Do you believe, for even one minute, that she had simply misspoken?
MORGAN: I can clarify that because I think that—Actually, exactly what happened was that Zimmerman had got out of his car and was trying—

ROBBINS: Correct.

MORGAN: —he said, to find the street name. And it was at that point that he was asked, “Are you following?” And he said yes, or whatever it is, and, “We don't need you to do that.” But he was actually outside the car.


MORGAN: So that is just one distinction we got.

HATCHETT: Correct.

MORGAN: I was under the mistaken impression—

HATCHETT: And my point is actually—but it's an important one. It's a very important one.


HATCHETT: And I agree, and I stand corrected on that point. But my point is, had he stayed in the car, had he followed the instructions not to follow him, we would not have a dead 17-year-old and that is the reality.
Instantly, Hatchett accepted correction. She then restated her “point.”

This time, she simply assumed an important fact, a fact which hasn’t been proven. She simply assumed that Zimmerman kept following Martin despite what the dispatcher said.

Zimmerman says that isn’t true. Based on where the fight occurred, he may well be telling the truth. Hatchett asserted something different. Morgan never asked why.

Here’s our first question for the day: Do you believe that Hatchett and Morgan were acting in good faith last night?

Hatchett was never asked to explain why she made that Standard False Statement. Do you think she simply misspoke, as she seemed to imply?

Really? You really believe that?

Regarding Morgan: Morgan never asked Hatchett or Mesereau to support the claim that Zimmerman kept following Martin after the dispatcher’s comment. Was Morgan acting in good faith when he kept failing to do that?

Let us give you an alternate view of what may have happened last night. This alternate view takes us back to the days of the Salem witch trials.

When witch trials get started on this earth, two things happen quite quickly. The demons start inventing bogus facts to strengthen their case against the witch. And they discard the accurate facts which tend to cast doubt on their claims.

Everyone else just sits around and lets these sociopaths do this. Last night, for the three millionth time, you saw a gang behaving this way on Piers Morgan’s program.

We wish we could link you to the tape. CNN doesn’t seem eager to let you review the things Br’er Morgan does.

Tomorrow: Kitty Genovese died for George Zimmerman’s sins! Two iconic tales from the New York Times

Saturday: The talented Mr. Capehart


  1. You mean Bill Clinton DID NOT have an affair with a 21-year-old intern?

    Well during the nine non-intercourse sexual encounters they shared I guess she was a little older than 21 (early to mid-twenties). And while she started out as an intern in Panetta's office (whatever position he was holding at the time), I guess she WAS occupying a paid position in the White House during all the horseplay.

    Gee, I guess Bill was innocent of having an affair with a 21-year-old intern after all.

    Even though Monica was all of 22 and salaried when she blew him, Bill was still a sleaze for doing what he did. I have all kinds of problems with the whole Kenneth Starr thing, but WJC was a sleaze, barely above the level of that hillbilly sodomite in "Deliverance." Why defend that with hairsplitting?

    Iconic Fake Fact #1 is not far enough off the mark to be on the list, much less #1. It reminds me of when Bill said, "I did not have 'sexual relations' with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."


    1. I doubt Hillary (or anyone but Bob) cared much whether Lewinsky was 21 or 22.

      It's a weak rhetorical maneuver to focus on a minor error to deflect attention from the larger issue. Bob uses it quite frequently--see all his writing on Susan Rice and Benghazi.

    2. And falsely potraying facts is a dishonest rhetorical maneuver to increase anger over a minor issue you often are trying to elevate to a major one.

    3. Here's two more "Iconic Fake Facts":

      1. Three interns revealed the flaws in the Rogoff-Reinhart studies while "the Professors" stared off into space; and

      2. Glen Kessler is not doing his job when he fails to fact-check political pundits.

    4. I almost always agree with Bob but I concur that here his case is quite weak. OTOH let us acknowledge that most 21 year old women are not exactly virgins these days and are well versed in erotic arts that would have shocked and quite possibly disgusted Gram. (You kids nowadays have no idea how tough it used to be to get a beej from anyone who wasn't gay.) Also, there is strong indication that Monica was basically a presidential groupie looking for it so it isn't like old Bill despoiled an innocent child who didn't know where babies come from either.

    5. The "fact" you all concede, was wrong, was *not* a fact.

      And yet your beef is with the guy pointing out that it was wrong, not with the folks who were ENDLESSLY repeating the "fact."


  2. I agree with Mr. Somersby on the facts, but on an emotional level, it is difficult to accept that a man who went into this situation knowingly and armed, may get off scot-free after having killed a juvenile. Surely in a just world he would have to make restitution to Trayvon Martin's parents for his poor judgment. Our legal system is what it is, but it is still hard to accept that no restitution will be made.

    Furthermore, I do wonder how this case would have been different if the ethnicities were reversed. As in the case of the horrific abortion doctor, who gave better treatment to his white patients, would a white life be valued more than a black life, and how would this have manifested itself?

    1. Acting in self defense should not require anyone to make restitution to his attacker's family.

      What would happen if ethnicities reversed? Maybe Zimmerman would be charged based on being black and shooting a white attacker even though the facts did not warrant it. Are you saying we should "even the score" by imprisoning an innocent white man?

    2. We don't know whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense or whether he acted with malicious intent.

      What we do know is:

      1) Trayvon was on his way home
      2) Zimmerman was tailing Trayvon (for a time at least)
      3) Zimmerman went into the confrontation armed
      4) Zimmerman didn't just shoot Trayvon in the arm or leg. He shot Trayvon dead.

      But regardless, I don't want to further derail the post, which was more about our feckless media.

    3. Allow me to expand on your second point among the known facts.

      2) Zimmerman was tailing a person he identified as black who, when that person ran, he labeled as one of the "fucking punks"
      who "always get away."

    4. The person on the phone asked whether the person was black or not -- Zimmerman didn't volunteer it.

      We don't know that Trayvon was "on his way home" or not. We don't know that Zimmerman "went into" any confrontation because that phrasing implies he initiated contact and we do not know that he did that. We don't know that Zimmerman had the opportunity to shoot in the arm or leg given the position he was in (pinned on the bottom) and what was being done to him. Fire arms trainers do not advise aiming for a limb instead of the body because most people are not sufficiently accurate to do that and because shooting at all usually occurs in a desperate situation where failing to stop someone would have serious consequences for the person shooting. Cops never aim for the arm or leg, for example.

  3. Still defending the 16 words? Wow, impressive it its own way.

    Certainly all TDH readers should never forget that Somerby still believes that the 16 words were never debunked--and especially not debunked by Joe Wilson.

    1. I certainly says something about you that you're still loyal to the Saint Joe Wilson mythology, but Somerby is right about that. The CIA actually believed that Saint Joe's report confirmed Iraqi attempts to obtain yellowcake from Niger

    2. Anon 153,

      Well, who did debunk the 16 words from Bush's State of the Union speech? Here's what they think over at Mother Jones:

      In July 2003, several months after the speech, former ambassador Joe Wilson published his famous New York Times column explaining why he thought the line was bogus. The day after Wilson published his article, Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer told the media that the information on "yellow cake" had turned out to be "incorrect." CIA Director George Tenet took the blame for the line later that day: "These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President."

      Merriam Webster says "Definition of DEBUNK
      : to expose the sham or falseness of"

      Are you going to claim that Ari Fleischer debunked the 16 words? Or do you believe that Bush's statement in the 2003 State of the Union address that “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa ” was, in fact, true?

  4. The assertion that Zimmerman was told to stay in his vehicle has many variations. More commonly it is an assertion he was told "not to follow" Martin. He was never told to "do" anything in that often misquoted exchange with a non-emergency city phone operator. He wasn't even told "not to do" anything. He was told what the operator felt was not have Zimmerman following the person he reported acting suspiciously.

    1. Thanks for the note of rationality. It won't be widely appreciated.

      "We don't need you to do that" is quite obviously NOT an instruction, in standard English grammar.

      It is entirely compatible with the interpretation "You don't need me to, but you aren't telling me not to."

      "I don't need you to do that." "Don't do that." See the difference clowns?

    2. Oh please! The operator was just be polite. What he should have said, after realizing to his horror, that contrary to all his previous training z was following would been something liike, " stop following him you reckless dumb fuck or someone is going to get hurt"


    3. It is a lot easier to construct your favorite narrative about this event when you get to make up dialog and place it into the minds and mouths of witnesses.

      The operator should have said "If you shoot that kid, no matter what the circumstances, your life will be ruined, so get in your truck, lock the doors and drive away as fast as you can." 20/20 hindsight is wonderful. Maybe the operator was actually thinking "I hope that kid isn't planning to burglarize my place. The cops better get there quick." or perhaps "Hmmm, only 30 more minutes until my shift is over and I can get out of this place and get some dinner." or perhaps "George, you did such a good job catching the last burglar, we wouldn't want you to get hurt, so let the cops take care of this, OK?" Why on earth would the operator think he was a "reckless dumb fuck" when his past behavior showed no tendency toward such behavior, when he had been instrumental in catching and convicting a burglar via his neighborhood watch activities, when he was friendly and well-thought of by police (based on their testimony) and when there was no evidence he was doing ANYTHING reckless, especially if you assume Trayvon was an innocent teen just strolling along and enjoying his skittles? Biases come in all shapes and sizes.

    4. There are narratives galore being spun around here. It seems you only object to narratives that aren't flattering to Georgie Porgie, the guy walking around with a pistol loaded with hollow point bullets, one of which somehow ended up in a young boys heart and lung.

      ***It is entirely compatible with the interpretation "You don't need me to, but you aren't telling me not to."***

      If you can listen to the recording of the non-emergency operator and accept the above as a reasonable interpretation of what the operator was communicating to little georgie porgie,
      (he's just so adorable, like a Pillsbury dough boy packing a 9mm with a bullet chambered) then you and I don't speak the same language.

      If that is such a reasonable interpretation, why is it n that Zimmerman now insists that he turned around to return to his truck when the operator said that to him?

      ***The operator should have said "If you shoot that kid, no matter what the circumstances, your life will be ruined, so get in your truck, lock the doors and drive away as fast as you can."***

      It's almost amusing how you keep avoiding the fact that the neighborhood watch training was very clear about following potential suspects. You don't do it. You let the police do their job. This is a tragedy that didn't have to happen but for the fact that Georgie ignored that rule because he didn't want that effing punk to get away this time.

      ***He was never told to "do" anything in that often misquoted exchange with a non-emergency city phone operator. He wasn't even told "not to do" anything. He was told what the operator felt was not have Zimmerman following the person he reported acting suspiciously.***

      You left out the part where they deputized little Pee Wee Herman on the phone.

    5. More made-up crap from mm. Typical.

      Wanting to adhere to the facts in evidence in the case is "just another narrative" to sad mm.

      And of course though Zimmerman was never told to "stay in the truck" and never told "don't follow him" he was in fact told "watch him" and he was in fact told to see where Martin was.

      In actual effect, prior to the "we don't need you to do that" conversation, the dispatcher was telling Zimmerman to follow Martin.

    6. Yeah, they deputized him, Officer George "Barney Fife" Zimmerman. Except, they didn't realize he had more than one bullet and kept one chambered in his pistol.

      I never said that Georgie Porgie was told that night to "stay in the truck". What you refuse to address is the neighborhood watch training he had that said you don't carry a weapon and you don't follow potential suspects.

      And he was clearly told to stop following-not in those exact words but the instructions were clear. It's undeniable since he and his ardent defenders have been insisting that he turned around when the operator said, "OK, we don't need you to do that"

    7. Nobody's "insisting" on that, mm -- you liar.

      What anyone who is paying attention to the facts is saying is that there is NOTHING so far in evidence that says Zimmerman didn't stop following. Nothing.

      Also you are the one who want to ignore the evidence for a narrative.

      You say "Zimmerman was clearly told to stop following-not in those exact words." You're damn right, not! We know what the exact words were: "we don't need you to do that." And there's NO evidence whatsoever that he continued to follow Martin from that point.

      And naturally, you desperately want to ignore this fact: the dispatcher previously directly asked Zimmerman to do things that amounted to following Martin. Directly asked him to do it. What's your spin on that, liar?

    8. **there is NOTHING so far in evidence that says Zimmerman didn't stop following. Nothing.**

      Except for the fact that he ended up killing the boy shortly thereafter

      **And naturally, you desperately want to ignore this fact: the dispatcher previously directly asked Zimmerman to do things that amounted to following Martin. Directly asked him to do it. What's your spin on that, liar?**

      Horseshit. You're creating a narrative. Naughty naughty. There is nothing in the questions the dispatcher asked him that implies they wanted Z (not a cop) to follow. Why then would he immediately tell him "ok, we don't need you to do that" after he asked him if Z was following him?The dispatcher thought he was talking to someone observing a suspect doing something wrong. He didn't realize he was talking to a dumb ass following a 17 year old boy going home from the 7-11. And the dispatcher certainly didn't know that Z was packing a loaded weapon while doing that.

    9. If Trayvon was going home from the 7-11 he would have reached that home long before any of this happened. He spent 45 minutes between leaving his home and being spotted by Zimmerman -- doing what? He was 100 ft from his front door yet took 4 minutes from the point where he was last seen running to when he encountered Zimmerman -- again, doing what? Anyone going home would have been home. What was Trayvon doing? Not just eating skittles. You keep mentioning that he was 17. How is that relevant to anything when kids much younger not only shoot each other in gang killings but are tried as adults for it. Age does not confer innocence, especially when you have the circumstances in this situation. The jury may not have been allowed to see Trayvon's phone contents or know about his marijuana use or his school suspension, the texts about fighting, the prior behavior problems, but the rest of us do know about these things. Portraying every wayward teen as an honor student is just dishonest.

  5. WJC engaged in a consensual blow job (not intercourse) with a woman of legal age. How does that make him a sleaze? Polled at the time, half the population didn't consider that "having sex." It is what people do when they do not have sex -- one of the things people do to avoid full-on sex. Further, people pleasers (as WJC is) tend to find it harder to say "no" to others and the transcripts make it clear that Lewinsky was the aggressor and that he may have indulged her because he didn't want to reject or disappoint her. Our narratives make men predators on young women (who are allowed no agency of their own) and make it hard to see this situation as anything more innocent. Throw in political motives to embarrass the president and you have a major non-scandal. The public saw it that way and that is why the Lewinsky "affair" did nothing to diminish his favorability ratings.

    The issue here is political persecution using mechanisms meant to address real substantial crimes, not to advance political motives. That puts Zimmerman's case and the attempts to pull down WJC into the same category.

    1. "WJC engaged in a consensual blow job (not intercourse) with a woman of legal age. How does that make him a sleaze? "

      For starters, it was in his home with a woman not his wife. And, conveniently, it was in his workplace--not usually listed as a "best practice" in executive management handbooks. Then there was the dissembling-- culminating in the comedy monologue on the meaning of "is."

      Does any of this make WJC a "sleaze?" Personally, I wouldn't label him that way --but most people would identify his behavior with Lewinsky (whether she was 21 or 22 or 32) as sleazy.

    2. Other sleazy aspects

      -- it took place in the Oval Office of the White House, a location that should represent to the American people the utmost in dignity.

      -- Clinton carried on some Presidential business in the form of phone calls while he was being fellated.

      -- Clinton was in the process of using his power to falsely demonize Monica as a liar and fantasist. The only reason this effort failed was the objective medical evidence.

    3. Calling the Whitehouse his "home" is misleading. Lewinsky never entered the portion of the building where WJC and Hillary Clinton lived. The casualness of his activities (e.g., talking on the phone) suggests that the act had little importance to him or Lewinsky or that they got off on the semi-public behavior and chance of discovery. It is why people have sex in bathrooms at parties. Clinton used his power to evade the political consequences of discovery of trivial behavior that shouldn't have even been reported (and wouldn't have for any other administration, before or since). Bob's point has been the media vendetta against Clinton and this invasion of adult privacy (Lewinsky's above all) in order to attack the president is the problem, not Clinton's attempt to defend himself from it. The public widely considered all of this to be no one's business except perhaps Hillary's (and even then we have no knowledge of their personal relationship and know nothing about how she regarded the situation or whether she even cared about it). Clinton was also accused of abuse of power for making sure Lewinsky was not harmed by her association with him -- by helping her get a job in NYC via referral and reference.

      The efforts of the Republicans to take down a sitting president by misusing the impeachment process is a shameful incident in our history that overshadows anything the President may have done, as a man and a human being, to undermine the dignity of the oval office. I imagine every president has picked his nose while sitting at that desk, told numerous lies, laughed at an improper joke, eaten too many goodies, taken a cheap shot at an enemy, and otherwise behaved like a human being while sitting at that sacred desk. WJC is no different, no worse, no better, no different than his predecessors. While contemplating the dignity of the White House, remember that it started its history by being built by slaves. Retrieving dignity from that unfortunate circumstance is a losing battle in my opinion.

    4. IMHO the fact that the act occurred in the non-residential part of the White House made it worse. Consider two examples:

      1. George and Laura have sex in the residential part of the White House

      2. George and Laura have sex in the Oval Office, while George is on the phone doing official Presidential business.

      Obviously #2 is worse than #1.

    5. I sincerely doubt the efficiency of multitasking during sex, but I don't otherwise see any harm in it, no matter where it occurs. The Oval Office is just a workplace, especially to those who work there. 2 is no worse than 1 -- that is like arguing that a priest abusing an altar boy commits a worse crime when he does so inside church than outside church. Is adultery worse when it occurs in the marriage bed? I don't think so, but some people do. I think that is supposedly one of the differences between liberals and conservatives -- and I think it is why bigots believe Obama has defiled the White House simply by living there, why some people thought Clinton defiled the White House by allowing campaign donors to stay in the Lincoln bedroom. Years ago, I thought Nixon defiled it when he put in a bowling alley, but then I grew up. Psychologist Paul Rozin did a study showing that people would not wear a sweater they had been told belonged to Hitler, even if it had been dry cleaned. They have odd ideas, such as that evil is like having cooties and can be caught by wearing a sweater or that places can acquire moral germs or be defiled by what people say, do or even think in them. You must cringe every time aliens blow up a replica of the White House in some movie -- it is only a model and the house itself, symbolic of our government, is still only a building where people live their lives for 4-8 years and then depart. Expecting them to be symbolic too while living there is unreasonable, in my opinion. I feel truly sorry for Michelle Obama, who has had to suppress any individuality in order to conform to the image of the perfect white house spouse in order to avoid disappointing a nation of idiots who think that if she farts in the oval office the free world will tremble. If LBJ's dog once pooped on the Oval office rug, does that diminish his presidency? I don't think so and I have no trouble respecting the accomplishments of Bill Clinton despite his personal behavior, which I would not myself engage in regardless of where I worked.

    6. Actually, we do define workplace sex as being more fraught with problems. Problems concerning power imbalances, favoritism, etc.

      Having then Ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson offer Lewinsky a job might be seen as a bit suggestive of the sort of dynamic that might make other young careerist question where they went wrong.

    7. Anon 518,

      What would a person in WJC's position as President have to do in order for you to call that behavior "sleazy?"

      Here's some help to start you off:

      slea·zy (slz)
      adj. slea·zi·er, slea·zi·est
      a. Shabby, dirty, and vulgar; tawdry
      b. Dishonest or corrupt; disreputable

    8. Sex isn't dirty, vulgar, tawdry in my opinion. I don't see what he did as dishonest or corrupt either, not in the way taking a bribe or cronyism would be. The man accepted a blow job offered by a friendly young woman. How is that sleazy?

    9. Anon 727,

      Since you asked, it's sleazy because it of the dishonest and corrupt and disreputable aspects --nobody can take seriously on the merits any recommendations or appointments Lewinsky received after her affair with WJC, they are all tainted by the inappropriate workplace behavior. And while sex, of course, is not necessarily shabby or vulgar, I would be amazed if there were a shabbier or more vulgar escapade by a President in the Oval office.

      Would WJC's sleazy personal behavior affect me voting for him? Probably not. But that doesn't mean I think his actions were sophisticated, mature and entirely wholesome.

      I don't think you can elect a Weiner or Spitzer without recognizing that most people think they are sleazy.

  6. CAN WE TALK? Just what was in that crate atop the Mitt's station wagon on the way to Canada? Was it Gennifer Flowers? Yellowcake from Niger? Or the dog?

    1. Anonymous -- you got it. A cage was strapped to the roof of the car, not a dog. Big difference.

      Strapping the dog to the roof of the car would have been cruel or crazy. Attaching the cage to the roof of the car was kind and reasonable. The dog liked to ride this way. Romney had even provided a windscreen for the dog's comfort. Since the car was full and since the dog liked riding on the roof, it was smart and reasonable to put his cage there.

      That turned out to be a particularly smart move when the dog developed diarrhea. Since the dog's cage was on the roof, the car could be cleaned by simply hosing it off. Imagine how much bigger a problem it would have been if the dog had been in the car.

    2. Let's insist on complete accuracy. I'll bet the dog in the crate was strapped to the luggage rack and not the car. And I'll further bet you haven't the slightest freaking idea what the dog liked or didn't like.

    3. According to the Romneys, Barney voluntarily and quite happily jumped up into his carrier for family trips, which I believe counts as the doggy equivalent of what feminists like to call enthusiastic consent. Based on what I've seen of dogs recklessly hanging out of car windows and avidly looking over the sides of pickup trucks I have no trouble believing that their story is true.

      I'm no fan of the Romneys but can we please stop demonizing them over this willfully misremembered story?

    4. As I recall this story, it was one told by Romney to a reporter in 2007 in an effort to humanize his otherwise aloof image when first running for President.

      But I could indeed be misremebering. I thought his name was Seamus, and that by the time Romeny recounted the story Semus had been crated again and shipped off to California to live with Romney's sister where he died a happy, kitten protecting pooch with plenty of territory to roam free.

      I also must be misremembering Barney. I thought he was Bush's reporter biting pup.
      Gone to the great hound heaven as well I misremember.

    5. I'm not sure what's real or not real about the dog thing.

      I do know it's terrible judgment to have a dog on top of the car. Sigh...

      What I do find curious is that people of the Romney's wealth and status didn't have a caravan of assistants, nannies, trainers, cook/s going with them on vacation. That the dog couldn't have ridden shotgun in some employee's car in a Romney caravan.

      It is worth noting that it seems to hsve been only Ma, Pa, the kids, and the poor dog.

      Would those dynamics be the same for Gail Collins?

    6. OK, I got the name wrong. The important thing is that I remembered he had the name of a Mick.

      Strapping a dog securely into a travel kennel with wind protection is not bad judgement.

      IF we're going to strap Gail Collins to anything, might I suggest some heavily-traveled railroad tracks?

    7. Cecelia -- Romney is very wealthy now, but I'm not so sure he was fabulously wealthy many years ago when the dog event took place.

  7. Ignorant, race mongering from Lisa Bloom:

    NBC’s Lisa Bloom Says Zimmerman Prosecution Needs To Go Hard On The Racial Angle In Summation

    First of all there's little evidence that Z's actions were based on racism and a great deal of evidence the other way. Also, the judge completely barred the use of the term "racial profiling". I don't think the prosecution would even be allowed to explicitly claim in their closing argument that Z was acting on racial grounds.

    1. For all her many faults, Lisa Bloom never said what the headline you quote alleges. At least not in the clip provided at your Mediaite link. Nor in fact does she even say what is attributed to her in the article below the false headline. Try again.

    2. I think the headline is accurate. I think the following quote from the article can be fairly summarized as "Bloom Says Zimmerman Prosecution Needs To Go Hard On The Racial Angle In Summation".

      She [Bloom] said that proceedings thus far have been clinical and have avoided dwelling on the implication that Zimmerman’s racial profiling of Martin led to their fatal confrontation. Bloom advised the prosecution to focus heavily on the racial angle in summation.

  8. What I find utterly weird is how many liberals are acting as if physically attacking someone who you think is following you is a perfectly reasonable act and that Trayvon Martin bears no responsibility for his own death. This is especially ridiculous in view of the fact that Martin was a 17 year-old football player who, compared to Zim's obvious pudginess, should have easily been able to outrun the slob. The police dispatch recording and the investigation video together strongly indicate that Zimmerman was not closely stalking Martin and had lost sight of him. Martin apparently died because he decided to reverse the situation by stalking down Zimmerman and then violently escalated the situation by physically attacking him.

    But this sort of nuance isn't good for maintaining liberal moral masturbatory excitement at an appealing peak. Much much better to insist, despite a conspicuous lack of supportive evidence, that Zimmerman was a racist a-hole who profiled Martin and then shot him down for shits and giggles because, you know, we're fighting prejudice and liberals can never be reverse bigots because that's what Fox would say.

    1. When you refer to "liberals" please also use the word "some" because not all liberals believe the things attributed in your comment.

    2. What I find utterly weird is that you refer to "Zim" as pudgy, when the "investigation video" you refer to showed him to be quite trim at the time of the shooting. So trim in fact he might easily have wriggled out of that MMA death straddle pinning his arms to his side so he could quickly grab his gun that the strapping young footballer was also trying to grab from beneath his own legs, pull it out and shoot the fatal bullet.

      The fact that you thought he was a slob indicates you may have missed watching the video. Otherwise you would know it strongly indicates nothing more than Zimmerman recounting his side of the story for police after the fact.

    3. Here are links to some photos taken of Zimmerman the day he was arrested:

      I dunno. He looks sorta pudgy to me, Dude. Especially that side shot. If you can't see a 17 year-old football player outrunning him you probably need to have a reasonable imagination implant. Especially the part where someone has you pinned to the ground and seems to be doing a fine job of punching your lights out, which appears to have been EXACTLY what happened.

      Oh, and Anonymous at 3:34. I agree that there were "some" liberals who were not like that. Me for example. But, overwhelmingly liberals rushed to judgement on this one because they all got hard and wet over the idea of persecuting a white man for racism. Instead of complaining that I'm being unfair, I think you need to face up to the fact that our side is not nearly as unprejudiced as it likes to fancy itself.

  9. "This is the way the sociopaths went after black people in the Old South. (Just reread To Kill A Mockingbird.) This is the way the sociopaths perform on cable today."

    I don't want to appear to be piling on to smarmy,

    {I want to stop here for a second. As I reread this to edit, I noticed that what I had in my head as Somerby was typed by my fingers as smarmy. Is that not bizarre?}
    ... Somerby, but the sociopaths in "To Kill a Mockingbird" were not indifferent to social mores.
    On the contrary, they were defending them rigidly, to the point of cognitive dissonance.

    Now I frequently think the talking heads on Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh are sociopaths because although they are aware they are lying, they seem totally indifferent to the wreckage they leave in their wake.

    I don't get the same feeling from MSNBC presenters. They don't seem to believe they are misleading listeners, or that what they are doing is closer to Swiftian satire that lying.

    Psychologist Martha Stout: “About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. It is not that this group fails to grasp the difference between good and bad; it is that the distinction fails to limit their behavior. The intellectual difference between right and wrong does not bring on the emotional sirens and flashing blue lights, or the fear of God, that it does for the rest of us. Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, one in twenty-five people can do anything at all.”

    4%? We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    1. Speak for yourself.

    2. Frankly, I envy the bastards (and let's never forget the wimmenfolk who are also in their dastardly ranks). It must be so liberating not to have a conscience.

    3. Are trolls sociopaths?

      Just askin'.