DYING PLANETS: LeBron explains!


Part 2—In lieu of professional leaders:
"Now we're engaged in a great civil war." We believe Abraham Lincoln said that!

Alas! He could have been referring to our current state of play, which was described, in yesterday's New York Times, by two regular columnists.

David Brooks compared the nation to a set of disconnected "planets." Meanwhile, across the page, in her debut at the Times, Michelle Goldberg said we're "two nations." She explained some of the constitutional provisions which tilt our political outcomes in favor of the less populous of those nations, the one to which we liberals don't belong.

Are we engaged in a great civil war, perhaps of the "culture war" kind? In this morning's Washington Post, Chuck Culpepper describes the terrain of the latest such battle, the battle which has started to rage about the way some people have knelt during the national anthem.

Is it possible that this will turn our to be a losing war for the "blue" nation, planet and tribe? We'd say that's certainly possible, in large part because of the hapless way our hapless tribe tends to conduct our business.

Culpepper writes for the Washington Post's sports section. Concerning the culture war which now swirls around the anthem and flag, he had visited "a great battlefield of that war."

Culpepper had gone to a sports bar in Canton, Texas—population 3581, sixty miles east of Dallas. While there, he'd recorded the thoughts of various people concerning this new culture war.

Even in smallish Canton, different people have different reactions, instincts, impulses and views concerning this new culture war, the one which may end up helping Donald J. Trump and his "red" planet. For ourselves, our reactions, instincts, impressions and views tend to align with those of Lacey Stark, "a young, lifelong Cowboys fan who went to high school in nearby Van."

As Stark spoke with Culpepper, she was watching the Cowboys battle the Cardinals this past Monday night. Here's what he says she said:
CULPEPPER (9/27/17): At halftime, Lacey Stark, a young, lifelong Cowboys fan who went to high school in nearby Van, told of her experiences from a choice vantage point: In Canton, she owns a hair salon. She also aims to make her salon a beacon of the mingling of the races.

Of the NFL players kneeling, she said, “A lot of people here take offense to it. They think that it’s very disrespectful. However, I’m very different from that. I feel like a lot of people complain that a lot of celebrities don’t use their fame to do something about the problems in the world, and I think it’s a good platform for them to try to bring a lot of different unity. Whatever they can. This is what they can do. It’s bringing a lot of tension, so it’s bringing a lot of conversation. I don’t think it’s disrespectful, because out on the field, they’re not laughing at it, they’re not disrespecting it. They’re just kneeling. They’re not ignoring it. They’re just kneeling. So I don’t find it disrespectful.”
Our basic reactions tend to align with Stark's (though not in every way). Most basically, we haven't found the players' kneeling to be disrespectful either.

Indeed, we're not sure when kneeling came to be seen as a sign of disrespect. The notion could almost seem comical to us, except for the feelings, instincts and reactions of millions of people who feel differently about this fight.

One such person is Nelson Whitaker, who manages the sports bar in question and who "served in the United States Air Force from 1976-80, in San Antonio." According to Culpepper's report, Whitaker also "belongs to a group of motorcyclists called the Patriot Guard Riders, who assist with transporting the remains of fallen soldiers."

Whitaker's basic reactions and instincts differ from ours. According to Culpepper, this is how the recent events look to him:
CULPEPPER: “As far as these overpaid pro athletes disrespecting our country, it just makes me sick,” Whitaker said. He’s a fairly regular NFL watcher who envisions watching less regularly. “Right now, you know, these athletes that are on the public stage, the world stage, and disrespecting the flag and the country, I couldn’t care less about watching it now.”

He said, “When I saw what was going on, and the wide disrespect, from full teams, you know, not partaking in the national anthem as it plays before games, stuff like that, it really, it set bad on me. Because for as long as we’ve been a country, people have fought for the freedom of the country, and they’re disrespecting that. They’re able to do that and make the money that they make because of the people that have fought for the freedom of this country. Personally, I’d like to see them go to another country and pull it.

“I like it when the players were out there: both teams, on the sidelines, standing up, hand over heart, when the anthem is being played. I honestly think that 99 percent of the veterans out there would say the same thing, because they’re not just disrespecting the anthem. In my opinion, they’re disrespecting everyone that’s serving now, and everyone that has served before that.”
That isn't the way these events strike us. That said, we'll now voice a basic point we liberals tend to have a hard time formulating and accepting:

Whitaker holds the same ownership stake in the United States that we so infallibly do. By law, and by common sense, his reactions and instincts also count, the same way our reactions do, as do Stark's reactions.

To all intents and purposes, this new battle started when Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee last year. Who is Colin Kaepernick?

At the time, Kaepernick wasn't ambassador to the United Nations, nor was he a political strategist. He was a 28-year-old professional quarterback who had come within a eyelash of winning the 2013 Super Bowl. He was a superb athlete who may not have understood that political protests—however well-intentioned, however sensible on the merits—may face a serious uphill struggle when they're offered in the face of the flag and the national anthem.

Over here in our liberal nation, we've been losing to the flag for a great many years now. Way back in 1988, Candidate George H. W. Bush paraded around the country visiting flag factories and proclaiming his own vast patriotism. In the process, he massacred Candidate Dukakis, who belonged to the ACLU and who had agreed that teachers shouldn't be forced to lead their classes in reciting the pledge of allegiance.

In that instance, our own instincts, reactions and opinions aligned with those of Dukakis, who we still regard as the sanest person who ever ran for president. That said, did we mention the fact that Dukakis got massacred in the course of this earlier culture war?

"BUSH SEEKS TO SEW UP FLAG VOTE." So read the almost-comical headline which sat atop this Washington Post news report in September 1988.

Even then, members of David Brooks' "meritocrat" planet reacted the way we tend to react today, offering silly complaints which Bush cuffed aside as if they weren't even there:
HOFFMAN (9/21/88): Later, Bush told the crowd outside [the flag factory], "Since 1849, an Annin flag has flown high on January 20th every four years, presiding over the swearing-in of the president of the United States. And that's a ceremony I hope to be a part of this coming year."

Bush's American history missed the mark: The inaugural ceremony has been held in January only since 1937; before that, it was held in March.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Candidate Bush had "missed the mark" on an historical date! Unfortunately, as he made this pointless error, he was also blasting Dukakis into submission.

We don't know Colin Kaepernick. We assume he's a good, decent person.

We didn't, and don't, think his kneeling was disrespectful. (He did say and do a few other things which rather plainly were "disrespectful" and also unwise, if he wanted to win his point with the general public and effect positive change.)

We assume that Colin Kaepernick is a good, decent person. That said, he isn't a political strategist! He may not have realized the way the dust may tend to settle when the flag, and the national anthem, get tangled up in debates of this type.

Some polling in the past thirteen months has tended to suggest that Donald J. Trump may come out on the winning end of the current battle. If so, that may show us what can happen when our meritocratic planet / blue nation falls in line behind amateur political leadership.

This Monday, we watched all 43 minutes of LeBron James' press conference, in which he discussed this topic at some length. Personally, we're inclined to admire James, who we regard as a model citizen (has he ever gotten a parking ticket?) and as someone who ought to be crazy (based on a lifetime of being pandered to) but rather plainly isn't.

We regard James as a person who tends to exhibit good sense. When he said he had spent the summer with his two sons and his daughter, we tended to believe him.

That said, James is a political amateur too, like Kaepernick before him. We thought he displayed a lot of good sense during his remarks that day. Eventually, though, he was hit with the question which tends to trip us up, over here on our struggling blue planet.

At one point, James had said that people who voted for Candidate Trump last fall had made "a mistake." Uh-oh! Eventually, this question was asked:
"You live and work in a state in which the majority of voters voted for the current president, some of whom, many of whom probably had valid reasons beyond his twitter account or his social graces. How do you reconcile having called that choice a mistake when many of those people are also Cavaliers fans?"
Oof! Questions like that tend to trip us up! And sure enough! We regard James as visibly sane. But he badly fumbled his answer to Steve Aschburner's perfectly sensible question, in precisely the way we blue planet folk tend to do.

Tomorrow, we'll look at what LeBron said. We think his answer was wrong on the substance and on the politics. We think his answer also tends to explain the way our meritocratic planet / blue nation tends to lose these debates.

Our blue nation can get in trouble when it starts following amateur leaders. In fairness, our associate professors and our journalists aren't a whole lot better, leadership-wise, a point we'll note as our report proceeds.

We include Goldberg in that group. You see, we know what she did that spring, on her way to her post at the Times.

Tomorrow: What LeBron said. Also, the associate professors!


  1. About LeBron James: "We think his answer was wrong on the substance and on the politics."
    But he holds an "ownership stake in the United States", just as Whitaker does. Is Somerby suggesting that LeBron cede the issue to the pro-standing group?
    Doesn't that effectively silence LeBron?

  2. This issue is a distraction. When we waste time on it, we give Trump what he wants -- respite from the focus on his Puerto Rican aid efforts, his Russia problems, his failure to get ACA repealed, and the joke tax proposals being leaked from his office. We allow Trump to solidify his base again so he can pretend his numbers are going up. Why do we go along with this? Why does Somerby?

    It isn't as though anyone here is confused about the first amendment. Stupid things will be said by human beings all around us. So what? We have bigger fish to fry

  3. "Is it possible that this will turn our to be a losing war for the "blue" nation, planet and tribe? We'd say that's certainly possible, in large part because of the hapless way our hapless tribe tends to conduct our business."

    Nah. No one cares about flags and football (for more than 5 minutes, anyway).

    The truth of the matter is: your 'tribe' has won the war. Multinational banksters, your tribe's sponsors, own everything. The neocons (aka 'liberal interventionists') control all levers of power. Your dumbing-down Orwellian PC-lingo is the law.

    What you're experiencing now is a rebellion. And if you manage to suppress it this time (and it looks like you might be able to), next time it's likely to be something close to a revolution...

    1. "Multinational banksters, your tribe's sponsors"
      See, that's what makes certain comments disingenuous ...to pretend that the "banksters" only sponsor "our tribe. " Republicans were the party of big business and multi-national corporations for years, pro-NAFTA, anti-union, etc. And, conversely, Bernie Sanders represents an anti-NAFTA wing of the left, so one can't broad-brush the left as if it's some homogeneous bloc.
      And to ignore the history of progressive (i.e. pro-working class) legislation by the Democratic Party from FDR on is just tone deaf.
      And why is the working man's hero Trump supporting legislation that would destroy the working man's health care, pump more pollution into the working man's air, remove protection from those very "banksters" that are apparently so evil?

    2. "See, that's what makes certain comments disingenuous ...to pretend that the "banksters" only sponsor "our tribe."

      It certainly would've made it disingenuous, if that was what I said. If you have a problem with reading comprehension, try searching my comment for the word "only".

      As for your little excursion into history, let's leave it to historians. What happened then has no bearing on what's happening now.

      And as for your pathetic little tu quoque, the comment was about your 'tribe'. Stay focused.

    3. You're the one who said the banksters sponsor "our tribe". It was pointed out that that is a generalization. Glad to know you think they sponsor the other tribe too. At least you're not a total idiot.
      On the other hand, if you think Trump actually opposes the "banksters", then you ARE an idiot.

    4. So, now you're changing the subject to poor little me. Happy to talk about anything, but not your 'tribe', eh?

      Obviously, not a lot of tribal pride in you. And that's understandable.

    5. ...oh, and incidentally: if you, continuing your tu quoque, are claiming that Mr Trump is sponsored by banksters, then, well, I'm not into insults, so let's say: you've been misled.

      See this, for example:

    6. See for example this.


  4. Last night one of those "disconnected planets" otherwise known as the Republican Party nominated a real nasty piece of work and a man committed to violating the Constitution to advance his American Taliban theology on all of us. He will very likely occupy 1 out of the 100 seats in the US Senate.

    Here is the headline in the fucking Washington Post:

    Moore wins Republican Senate primary, dealing blow to GOP establishment

    bwahahaha!!!!! This is a man TWICE elected to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.

    If he ain't down the middle hard core GOP establishment, why are all these GOPers, otherwise known as Republicans, voting for him all the time.

    I remember the days when TDH might have commented on that WP headline.

    1. I agree with you, mm. I think Moore's election shows that the GOP establishment is changing. It's becoming less centrist. IMHO this will result in fewer Republicans being elected and more conservative legislation being enacted.

    2. The GOP hasn't been centrist since Nelson Rockefeller.

  5. At one time, the NFL must have thought that kneeling was disrespectful because their written rules or procedures required the players to stand for the National Anthem. According to Snopes,
    The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook. It states:

    ‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition … It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’

    However, Snopes goes onto explain that there's uncertainty as to whether this rule currently applies.

  6. Bob, our professional leaders managed to loose over 1,200 elected offices up and down the ballot over the last decade or so. Their measured centrism, defensive crouch politics, and reliance on a grifting gang of campaign strategists have been rank failures in the face of a parliamentary GOP.
    For years, Democratic leaders have asked the left to hang back and support Blue Dogs and New Democrat candidates. That may have worked in the early 90s, but it's not working now.

    1. It is odd to read these sorts of comments because the wording makes it fairly obvious they were written by someone who wasn't around in the 1990s. Bill Clinton, like Jimmy Carter, ran as a party outsider because he didn't have the endorsement or support of the DNC and Democratic establishment. He created his own support network within the Party by chairing the DLC, a group of Southern Democrats, and by chairing the Governor's council. He approached donors outside the Democratic mainstream to fund his campaign and then he began winning primaries. He was far from anointed by the party until he won nomination, the hard way. This is part of why people like Maureen Dowd and Chris Matthews hate him. He was considered a usurper because he came to the presidency outside the power structure and showed them he didn't need them. He threatened their power base. The rise of "Blue Dog" democrats since then has been partly due to the increasing economic development in the Southern states and a demographic shift as people have moved there. At the same time, Southern Democrats who felt more comfortable with the Republicans switched parties.

      If you are referring to the left as the New England and industrialized Northern Midwest, you are siding with the Democratic establishment as it existed before Clinton. That is the traditional Democratic establishment, with its strength coming from unions. Pretending you are doing something new by championing them makes you sound kind of ridiculous.

      For the rest, you seem to be complaining about how politics works. You make it all sound evil, which suggests you have watched too much House of Cards, but compromise and bipartisan cooperation are how work gets done in Congress. These are not evil. For a better perspective, go read Al Franken's new book.

    2. I voted in my first Presidential election in 1980.

      Bill Clinton did win as a New Democrat and through two terms of triangulation and compromise managed to validate conservative policies. The smoldering wreckage of TNAF is a prime example of a compromise that looked good when the economy was running on all cylinders and failed miserably as an economic stabilizer when the Great Recession hit in 2009.

      The modern GOP can't be compromised with legislatively. Democrats need to run people who genuinely advocate for policies that lift up and support people outside of the top 10 percent.

    3. Everything failed in 2009 and then we recovered.

      If you don't compromise, you are ramming a set of policies down the throats of a nation in which 50% of the people do not agree with whoever was elected. A president needs to serve ALL of the people of the nation. That means he or she cannot just do whatever they want. That's how our government works. You can take Bernie and form a dictatorship somewhere else because it isn't going to happen here, thank God!

    4. @7:11 PM asks:


      Step aside. Abracadabra: POOF!

    5. Yes, many parts of the economy recovered post 2009, thanks to the AARA. Still, TNAF was severely hobbled as part of that recovery because Clinton relented and signed legislation that block granted it. As the years rolled by, those TANF dollars covered fewer and fewer people. And because the dollars were disbursed under a block grant, could be redirected by state governments into programs that did not provide cash support to eligible families.
      Nothing but win baby.
      The Republican Party that sits in Congress today is nothing like those mid-90s GOPers. The vital center you dream of was smashed by Tom DeLay's hammer in the early oughts. Just this week, Bob Corker, a Senator who would have been labeled, a "staunch conservative," back in the 90s, announced that he wasn't going to run for re-election because he assessed his chances of surviving a primary, and decided that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. "Moderates," like Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania, are bailing on House re-elections because the current House GOP caucus is packed to the gills with RWNJs.
      And you ask people to believe in a centrist fantasy that only exists on Fred Hiatt's editorial pages.
      New Dem, please.

    6. Republicans are reaping what they sowed. Dems never put party loyalty above all else, so you have no complaint against so-called Dem centrists. All Dems work toward their goals, bipartisan if necessary. Even Bernie works with Dems -- does that make him a sell out? By your standard, obviously yes.

    7. Clinton did the best he could under the circumstances and he gave us 8 years of peace, prosperity and improvements on all measures. That includes reductions in poverty, lower unemployment, higher wages, etc.

  7. Somerby isn't making much sense these days. For example: "Our blue nation can get in trouble when it starts following amateur leaders. In fairness, our associate professors and our journalists aren't a whole lot better, leadership-wise, a point we'll note as our report proceeds."

    1. You cannot get more amateur than Trump and his cabinet, but the Dems are the ones supposedly following amateur leaders?

    2. Someone who is well know, a celebrity, who speaks out on an issue of interest to Democrats, is not their appointed leader just because he is well known.

    3. Professors are not leaders either. They are knowledge workers who do research at universities and teach students how to explore ideas in specific fields of expertise. If one happens to write something for public consumption, they are speaking as individuals, just like those celebrities are individuals and not leaders (elected or appointed).

    4. Trying to knock down someone who is not a leader under the pretense that he or she somehow speaks for Democrats is straw man argument.

    Somerby should know better than to do this. I don't watch, much less follow, basketball and I barely know who LeBron is. I don't much care what he thinks, whether he is endorsing a product or commenting on a movie, or speaking up for a candidate or resistance effort in the news.

    I care what Hillary thinks. She is a leader. I find myself wondering why Somerby offered no kudos when she goaded him into finally paying attention to Puerto Rico. I find it ironic that there is an article every few days in the news pointing out something or other that Hillary was right about. I wonder why no one paid attention to her when she was speaking during the election. Maybe it was because Somerby and others were busy telling us that LeBron is our leader. Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

    1. Somerby seems to be referring to LeBron as a leader in a culture war, not a political war.

    2. If we are going to talk about culture wars, terms like liberal and conservative or Democrat and Republican don't apply.

      The urban versus rural split is more meaningful. There are any number of social studies that propose other dimensions, such as inclusive vs exclusive, open vs closed, flexible vs rigid, religious vs secular, and so on.

      Somerby isn't qualified to conduct a discussion about culture. He doesn't seem to have ever taken a class on anthropology, sociology, psychology, much less any kind of ethnic or gender studies. His language for discussing these things is stunted and he responds to new ideas like someone's grandfather. In other words, he doesn't "get it" on any side of a culture war and quoting Malala will only take your so far.

    3. Let's stipulate, for the sake of argument, that you're 100% right about all those claims. All that being so, isn't it great that you need never read this blog that is failing you so dramatically ever again--and that would can immediately create your own blog doing everything that Bob does so wrong in new and powerfully right ways? Why just list all the troubles with what Bob does in his blog, when you can show him exactly how it should be done, instead?

  8. So the day after Alabama Republicans vote for a lunatic to run for the Senate, you write about the anthem BS? Please explain to me why I should have empathy and understanding for all the folks that voted for a lunatic?

    1. No one cares about you.

    2. "Please explain to me why I should have empathy and understanding for all the folks that voted for a lunatic?"
      Other than, "that's what the corporate media pays you to do", there is no other reason.

  9. There are commenters here who seem to misunderstand the importance of social issues to the right wing. Abortion is a huge issue for a large swath of Republican voters. This issue of kneeling during the national anthem resonates massively with them. Why do you suppose Trump has dedicated so much time to this?
    And concerning Moore's election in Alabama, he appeals because of his religious extremism, his anti-gay, anti-immigrant stances. If he were found to be sucking at the teat of the international bankers, he would still be elected by the same margin.

    1. Yup. The "family values" folks elected an admitted sexual predator, because we under-estimated the importance of social issues to them. LOL.

  10. To everything there is a season. MLK and Gandhi succeeded in their peaceful protests because large portions of the relevant populations agreed with them morally. These populations could see the terrible and unfair mistreatment.

    IMHO the anti-Anthem protests will fail with non-blacks, because there no longer a perception of drastically unfair treatment. Thanks to liberals, blacks now have equal opportunity to vote, to own real estate, in public accommodations, and in every other legal way. In employment and especially in college admissions, blacks are treated favorably, compared to whites and especially favorably compared to Asians. This idea is crudely expressed when conservatives denigrate athletes earning tens of millions of dollars a year, who nevertheless claim to be victims.

    What makes this situation particularly dangerous is that many blacks are deeply bitter and do feel that they get unfair treatment. In part, that's because blacks still lag, on average, in some important respects. In part, it's because some Democrats and some black would-be leaders work to build a sense of grievance.

    Regardless of the cause, this difference in perception between different races is awful for the country for our future.

    1. The black athletes are not claiming to be victims themselves. They are complaining because black drivers are more likely to be shot than white ones, more likely to be mistreated by police, and because our courts are not fair when they are supposed to be. There is plenty of data to back this up and it is a legitimate grievance. The unwillingness of white people such as you to understand this is just going to prolong the protesting. It is a kind of obtuseness that doesn't help racial dialog.

    2. Shoot David in Cal in the head. His people have had the right to vote for more than a century, so it's completely fair.

    3. D in C
      The indignities visited upon people of color in America did not, and does not stop with clubs, fire hoses, and K-9 dogs. I’m sure you had a Black co-worker from time to time, and you believed he opened up to you and shared his innermost thoughts. He did not.

    4. Anon -- my people were put in concentrations camps and murdered. But, I don't think that gives me the right to sh*t on the flag. Nor do I think such an action would benefit my people.

      gravymeister -- My wonderful cousin's wife Blanchs is black. She has three children. These people are not typical. Blanche comes from an educated background. Her children were raised in an upper middle class environment by parents both with Ph.D's. Anyhow, the only racial complaint I recall is their son and younger daughter having to cope with the idea among black classmates that doing well in school was "acting" white and should be discouraged.

      OTOH this family benefited from racial preferences. Blanche got into medical school as a middle aged English Professor. I don't know whether she would have been admitted without preferences. She was an usual, and very special applicant.

      One daughter was an outstanding student and got into Yale. I think she might have gotten in without preferences. OTOH the son clearly benefited from racial preferences when he was accepted at Princeton.

    5. "my people were put in concentrations camps and murdered. But, I don't think that gives me the right to sh*t on the flag."

      You're correct. It's the Constitution of the United States of America which gives you that right. You should acquaint yourself with it sometime.

    6. David, I don't believe you are Jewish and I resent you borrowing other people's history for your lame trolling. Double for your suppose black relatives. No one gets accepted to med school with high test scores and grades because any diversity consideration comes after that screening. Someone with an English degree would have to take the same science prerequisites. Age wouldn't matter.

      But you are just making this stuff up.

    7. without high test scores -- typo

    8. AnonymousSeptember 27, 2017 at 9:05 PM there are legal rights and moral rights. You have a legal right to shout "Fuck the N-----s" in public, but you have no moral right to do so.

    9. The people taking a knee during the anthem are taking a moral stand against racial discrimination.

    10. Anon 12:27 Jonathan Adler explained in WaPo

      However well-intentioned or justified a given protest may be, when political protests occur during the national anthem, many Americans see a defacement of something sacred — and this message completely overshadows the intended content of the protests. As experienced and understood by many, the protesters were not merely seeking to advance their own cause; they were advancing their cause at the expense of something of transcendent importance to many others.

      To be clear, my claim is neither that this is what anthem protesters intend nor that this is the “best” interpretation of their acts. (Indeed, I share many of the protesters’ concerns about persistent racial inequality and the problem of police misconduct.) I am merely making a claim about how these protests are perceived and understood by a sizable share of their audience. The protests occur during the anthem and therefore, in the eyes of many viewers, detract or distract from the anthem and the message it is meant to convey.

      However much some protesters insist that they are not intending to protest the country or the flag (and certainly that they have no intention to protest the troops who serve for the benefit of the rest of us), this message is inevitably lost on a certain share of the audience.


    11. Even if a protest is being deliberately misconstrued for political gain, as this one is by our president, the protesters have the right to make their statement. It means what they intend, not what some beknighted idiot thinks it means.

      It is part of the point of this protest that our anthem and what it symbolizes is marred when our country does not live up to its ideals of liberty and justice for ALL.

    12. Comrade DinC. You watched the abomination tRump shit on US military prisoners of war. Men and women who put their lives on the line and suffered horribly as a result, yet you happily voted for him. And a person who very obviously colluded with Russians to undermine our democratic elections.

      You want to know how I "perceive" that?

    13. "Men and women who put their lives on the line and suffered horribly as a result"

      Whoa, so you're a militaristic little fella. Worshiping the military, eh?

      It figures. Fits well with your retarded style, your paranoia, and your obsession with assholes...

    14. So you're a foul-mouthed troll with no sense of the sacrifice made by military and their families -- that figures since you are either a bot or a comradski. Go away. You don't belong here.

    15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    16. "However much some protesters insist that they are not intending to protest the country or the flag (and certainly that they have no intention to protest the troops who serve for the benefit of the rest of us), this message is inevitably lost on a certain share of the audience."

      Regarding this protest, it's lost on the share of the audience that is okay with racial injustice and inequality.

    17. If it wasn't for the sweet, sweet sound of Trump's bigotry, Mao would would be protesting Trump's increase in the military budget, I'm sure. Priorities!

    18. Nothing says "anti-establishment politician" like providing more of the United States Treasury to defense contractors. LOL.

    19. Anon -- my people were put in concentrations camps and murdered. But, I don't think that gives me the right to sh*t on the flag.

      What flag are you referring to? The German Nazi flag? I think you certainly would have a right to shit on that.

      I think the American flag stands for the country that freed those in concentration camps, although as we know there were many conservatives in this country who had strong sympathy for the Nazi cause.

  11. Anon 10:55 My cousin Blanche is a remarkable person. She wrote a couple of textbooks as an English Professor. When she decided to become a doctor, she managed to take the necessary science courses at night while teaching English at the college level and maintaining a suburban home and raising three children. Through it all, she remained good-natured and modest.

    1. And you respect her so much that you accuse her and her kids of getting in by preference. You are a piece if work.

    2. Yes, you don't know because you weren't on those admission committees but you state they got in by skin color. You shithead. These are supposedly people you care about.

    3. Anon -- evidently your moral sense is different from mine. If race helped someone get accepted by a college, I don't see that as any sort of criticism of that person.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. David in Cal,

      Your Jewish cousin married a black with a Ph.D. in English and is Jewish? Funny that didn't make it harder for all of them to get into those schools. Or your mother is Jewish but your father is not, nor is his nephew. Is that the cousin of yours who married someone who is black, not Jewish, has attended med school, and has a Ph.D. in English? Or are you Romani?

    6. Of course it is a criticism. You think, because they are black, they were not good enough to be accepted without racial preference.

    7. C. Mike -- My cousin, who is Jewish, married a black woman. She went on to get a Ph.D. in English and later became a medical doctor.

    8. David, your cousin being Jewish doesn't make you Jewish and it doesn't make Jews "your people." Your mother would have to be Jewish for that to be true.