Miami Gardens is full of great kids!


General Kelly's Days in May:
Miami Gardens, Florida is full of great kids.

(The same is true of Puyallup, Washington; Springboro, Ohio; and Lyons, Georgia, the hometowns of the other three men who died in Niger this month.)

Back to Miami Gardens:

Maybe fifteen years ago, La David Johnson was one of those great kids. By all accounts, he was lucky to be served by the mentoring program organized and run by Frederica Wilson, who was his congressional representative when he died this month.

In our view, General Kelly went around the bend and over the top when he aggressively belittled Rep. Wilson this week. On the other hand, we watched the videotape of Rep. Wilson's speech in Miami in 2015, and we can see why someone might have felt that she was perhaps a bit over her skis in her remarks that day.

Yesterday, it quickly became standard for mainstream and liberal pundits to say they couldn't imagine any such thing. The inability to imagine how Others might view an event is a dangerous aspect of human failing in times of tribal warfare such as the era into which we've descended.

General Kelly also made some obvious factual errors in his comments about Rep. Wilson's speech. Those factual errors don't go to the heart of what he said about Rep. Wilson, but they've been widely noted.

In our view, General Kelly's factual errors were largely trivial. His insulting remarks about Rep. Wilson went way, way over the line.

That said, everyone makes mistakes. In our view, General Kelly made a wider set of mistakes during his Thursday press event, and this wider set of mistakes has largely gone unremarked. This oversight should be corrected.

By all accounts, General Kelly is a disciplined, serious person. That said, he expressed views about the role of the military in American life which are historically dangerous and should therefore be assessed.

We refer to Kelly's repeated claims and insinuations that members of the military are our very best people, our top one percent, full stop. It's historically dangerous to think that way. This fact has been made clear in disastrous events all over the world down through the annals of time.

Simply put, those people aren't, all by themselves, our nation's top one percent, and they shouldn't be thought of that way. They're surely among our very best, but they have a whole lot of company.

What sorts of things did Kelly say that took us into this historically dangerous area? He started with some highly sensible remarks about the difficulty involved in informing a military family that their loved one has lost his life.

"If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you can imagine," General Kelly said. "There's no perfect way to make that phone call."

That was a very sensible thing to say. He also described the painful process by which a fallen soldier's family is told of their loved one's death.

This was a powerful, worthwhile presentation. But along the way, Kelly made the highlighted remarks:
KELLY (10/19/17): A casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door, typically the mom and dad will answer. Wife. And if there is a wife, this is happening in two different places.

If the parents are divorced, three different places. And the casualty officer proceeds to break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until—well, for a long, long time. Even after the internment. So that's what happens. Who are these young men and women? They are the best one percent this country produces.

Most of you, as Americans, don't know them. Many of you don't know anyone who knows any one of them. But they are the very best that this country produces.
And they volunteer to protect our country when there's nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate, but required. But that's all right.
Ignore the hint of Nixonian self-pity lurking in those remarks. Focus instead on this question:

Are the men and women who serve in the military "the best one percent this country produces," full stop?

Actually no, they aren't, not all by themselves. And it's dangerous to start down that road.

Those men and women are surely among the best people we produce. It's fitting and just that we should remember that fact.

But are they the best we produce, full stop? it's dangerous to say such thigs because soon you'll be saying things like this, as you trash Rep. Wilson in an undisciplined way:
KELLY (10/19/17): When I listened to this woman and what she was saying and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this earth. And you can always find them, because they're in Arlington National Cemetery.

I went over there for an hour-and-a-half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there, because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.
Are the men and women in Arlington National "the finest men and women on this earth?" It's dangerous to start down that road.

Those men and women are surely among the finest people on earth. But it's dangerous to say what Kelly said because you'll soon be saying this:
KELLY: In April of 2015, I was still on active duty. And I went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami. And it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami against drug traffickers in 1986 by the name of Grogan and Duke.

Grogan almost retired, 53 years old. Duke, I think less than a year on the job. Anyways, they got in a gunfight and they were killed. Three other FBI agents were there, were wounded, now retired.

So we go down. Jim Comey gave an absolutely brilliant memorial speech to those fallen men and the, and to all of the men and women of the FBI who serve our country so well and law enforcement so well.

There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were only 3 or 4 years old when their dads were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived the fight were there and gave a rendition of how brave those men were and how they gave their lives.

And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down.

And we were stunned, stunned that she'd done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. But you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, "OK, fine."
Note the growing tone of self-pity. In that passage, Kelly makes his factual errors, and he characterizes Rep. Wilson's 2015 speech.

After watching Rep. Wilson's speech, we ourselves can understand why General Kelly might have thought that she was perhaps a bit self-aggrandizing that day, especially under the circumstances. We can see why the children of the fallen officers might have thought that her remarks were a bit tone deaf.

But it's troubling to see General Kelly slipping into an Us-and-Them framework in which "we"—presumably, the military people on hand that day—are portrayed as the long-suffering Better People forced to hold their tongues about The Lesser Beings with whom they must share this earth.

On a global scale, it's historically dangerous when military figures start viewing the world that way. Before too long, they may start structuring our civic life in this way:
KELLY: So I'm willing to take a question or two on this, on this topic. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this:
Is anyone here a Gold Star parent or sibling? Does anyone here know a Gold Star parent or sibling?
OK. You get the question.


KELLY: Any other? Someone who knows who knows a Gold Star fallen person.

KELLY: I will take one more, but it's going to be from someone who knows [a Gold Star fallen person].
It's dangerous to let yourself think that Your Kind are the worthy and best, full stop. Before too long, you may be saying that only people with ties or connections to your very best people are fit to take part in our national discourse.

Before too long, no civilians need apply!

That was a very strange turn for General Kelly to take. As he ended his presentation, he rather strangely said this:
KELLY: As I walk off the stage, understand there's tens of thousands of American kids, mostly, doing the nation's bidding all around the world.

They don't have to be in uniform. You know, when I was a kid, every man in my life was a veteran, World War II and Korea, and there was the draft.

These young people today, they don't do it for any other reason than their selfless, sense of selfless devotion to this great nation.

We don't look down upon those of you that haven't served. In fact, in a way we feel a little bit sorry, because you will never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kind of things our service men and women do, not for any other reason than they love this country.

So just think about it. And I do appreciate your time.
By now, Kelly was coming close to directly asserting the moral superiority of that military one percent. He seemed to think he was being kind when he said that His Kind, the one percent, don't look down on the rest of us, although they feel a little bit sorry for us as they ponder our pitiful lives.

By now, Kelly was thoroughly over the top. We thought of the potent John Frankenheimer film, Seven Days in May.

By all accounts, General Kelly isn't General James Mattoon Scott, the character played by Burt Lancaster, who tries to stage a military coup against the Timorous Lesser Beings who are running the United States government.

By all accounts, Kelly isn't that man. But he was talking like that man during Thursday's presser.

Sgt. La David Johnson was among our very best. So were Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, who also lost their lives in Niger this month.

They were among our very best. But many others are among our very best, not excluding the energetic people who may establish and run the mentoring programs which may help the great kids in Miami Gardens become fully grown people like the late Sgt. Johnson.

All these people are fallible. None of these people are perfect. As Yevtushenko said of people:

"Whom we know as faulty, the earth's creatures."

None of these people are perfect. But many rank among our very best. Their ranks extend well beyond that meager one percent.

By all accounts, General Kelly is a highly accomplished, highly admirable person. By all accounts, he isn't James Matoon Scott.

That said, like all people, he's faulty. He was talking like James Mattoon Scott this week, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quickly surfing behind him.

He was talking historically dangerous talk. It may be several light years too late, but attention should be paid to the unwise things he said.

Final thought:

We can see why someone might have thought that Rep. Wilson's speech was a bit tone deaf. Especially during the tribal times which have historically led to our wars, it's important to be able to see the way the world looks to The Others.

It's the oldest fact on the earth. Your team is faulty too.


  1. Just like in the run-up to the Right-wing's Great Iraq Clusterfuck, the soldiers are merely pawns to be used by Conservatives.

  2. ....we watched the videotape of Rep. Wilson's speech in Miami in 2015, and we can see why someone might have felt that she was perhaps a bit over her skis in her remarks that day.

    That makes one of you who might have felt that. In case you haven't been keeping up Bob, per the WH it was remarks she made that were not part of her speech that chapped Kelly's white 4 star ass. Keep up Bob.

  3. I totally disagree that Wilson's speech in 2015 was "over her skiis" or "tone deaf." She was giving credit to the other legislators who all helped push through the paperwork to name the building so that it could be dedicated to the fallen officers. Those families wouldn't have been present without that help. The acknowledgement of their efforts is part of how you pay them back for rushing through the dedication. What Wilson said was important. And she only mentioned herself at the very beginning. The rest of the speech was about OTHER PEOPLE.

    Somerby's both-siderism is ridiculous. I listened to the video myself and I thought Wilson was appropriate.

    I agree with Somerby's point that Kelly shouldn't be characterizing the military as the best people. Wilson is an example of that. She too is serving the country and the people by holding public office. Before that she was a teacher and school principal. These are service jobs. One may not sacrifice their life, but the people holding such jobs definitely sacrifice their spare time, their own out-of-pocket funds, and they typically are thinking of others, even when ostensibly off-the-clock. They deserve respect too.

    Kelly is a liar who was caught in his lie. He needs to apologize or all of his high minded talk about sacrifice and the finest people is undermined by his own lack of character. It is sad that Trump put him up to this, but increasingly it appears he was a willing participant in a hit-job intended solely to cover up Trump's indifference to the troops and his inability to do the job required of a president.

    My team may be faulty, but not in this way. Somerby is trying way too hard to find flaws in our conduct when this is entirely owned by the other side. That effort reveals a whole lot about Somerby's motives. He wants so badly to believe that both sides are equally bad as human beings, that he is manufacturing crimes to accuse liberals of and ignoring the crimes on the other side. Why is he doing this? Is he thinking of re-registering as a Republican and trying to find some way to justify it? Did he discover his most beloved relative is a conservative and he wants to keep his esteem untarnished? Is he in love with someone who votes for the other side? What is going on with this guy?

    My personal theory is that he has swallowed the Bernie line that both establishment political parties are equally bad and he wants enough of us to see that so that we will throw all the bums out and start over with Bernie and who...?

  4. I totally disagree that Wilson's speech in 2015 was "over her skiis" or "tone deaf."

    Yes, but the point Somerby seems to be totally mischaracterizing the smear inflicted on Rep. Wilson. General Kelly made very pointed and specific accusations against Wilson. First, Kelly stated the 2015 event was a memorial, which it clearly was not, it was a dedication to the opening of the new office. Second, he accused her of bragging about how she secured the funding. That never happened. He made that up out of whole cloth, or perhaps he hallucinated it as he sat there seething that this black Congresswoman had the temerity to even speak at the event. Third, he accused her of stating she went to President Obama to help secure the funding.

    It is beyond belief that TDH continues to minimize the character assassination attack on Wilson by Kelly. I simply can't believe it.

    Note, once video of the event was made public, and the lies of Kelly were exposed for all to see and hear with their own ears and eyes, even the administration had to back away from the initial slander and claim other comments made that were not in the speech were what Kelly was referring to. That makes no fucking sense, but what does nowadays?

    1. It's no use, mm.
      Somerby is like Trump: if you criticize him about something or point out a flaw in his reasoning, he doubles down on it. He must be trying to appeal to conservatives these days. I'm frankly stunned by his take on this brouhaha.

    2. There's a lot of stunning going around.

    3. Hopefully, what we're witnessing here is but a flare-up of sanctimony and this is not going to be the new normal for the Howler.

  5. Among the occupations more dangerous than military service are lumberjacking, commercial fishing, power line men, and aircraft pilot. I disagree that people sign up for military service with the acceptance of their own death. Many sign up for benefits such as college tuition, skills training, stable employment, and a second chance in life. They are not expecting to be injured or killed as part of their military service.
    If military men and women are the finest because of their acceptance of death, are not lumberjacks and fishermen even finer? They too serve and die, but I don't believe they have special cemeteries.

    This illustrates a difference in values between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives honor those who serve death, liberals honor those who serve life. Kelley exemplifies the former, Wilson the latter. When we glamorize the deaths of soldiers we increase the likelihood more young men and women will volunteer. Liberals are less inclined to consider that a good thing. Kelly has first-hand knowledge of recruiting statistics and the importance of military funerals to recruitment numbers. Liberals look at La David Johnson's death, the grief of his family, and think about the wasted potential and wonder what it was for. And Kelly cannot even answer that question.

    1. Anon oct 21 2:04 pm -- As an expert in workers compensation, your comment interested me:
      Among the occupations more dangerous than military service are lumberjacking, commercial fishing, power line men, and aircraft pilot.

      I don't know how that conclusion was arrived at. If it's based on statistics, it would seem to depend on what period one looks at. I would imagine that if the 1940's are included that the military had more casualties than the professions you list. But, I'm not sure. Can you tell us where your fact comes from?

  6. Yesterday Somerby said: "We'd recommend that people look for ways to halt our floundering nation's rapid steep dangerous slide."

    Yesterday Sessions testified that nothing is being done to protect the integrity of our elections. Money has been appropriated to fight back against Russian interference and it is not being spent. Why isn't this considered treason?

    We need to stop waiting until Mueller's investigation is over. Our 2018 election needs to be protected from Russian interference, which is ongoing and not limited to 2016. We need to get busy reversing voter suppression efforts in states that were strongly affected (WI for example) by helping voters get the required documentation and increasing GOTV efforts for 2018.

    We need to send Bernie back to Vermont. He and Jill Stein were agents of Russia and are not up to any good today. Democrats don't need them.

    The Democratic Party is in the early days of an attempted coup, much like the Tea Party takeover of the Republican Party. We need to recognize and combat the threat on the left instead of passively allowing people with suspect motives to primary legitimate candidates and incumbents and divide the left. That means grass roots efforts by Democrats and zero tolerance for Russian inspired chaotic elements attempting to coopt our political process. We can learn from the right's difficulties.

    Is Somerby helping liberals get their shit together or is he helping to disrupt? I think we can judge him by his words. I wouldn't be surprised if this blog were receiving a regular subsidy from the Kremlin. It is hard for me to see how its content would be any different if it were assigned the task of undermining the left from the left.

    1. What exactly is the dangerous slide? It seems to me the responsible parties in Congress and limiting Trump's destructive tendencies and keeping him from doing major damage. Reversing Obama's achievements puts us back to the Bush era, not the Dark Ages. Economic indicators are fine. Even with his attempts to undermine ACA, more people net are insured than before it was enacted. The main job remaining is to help Puerto Rico -- I recommend donations to non-US agencies and helping keep the pressure on Trump. Beyond waiting out Trump's term, what slide is occurring and what does Somerby think should be done?

      Maybe he is talking about sports?

    2. The original comment in this thread is more delusional than anything DinC or Mao has ever posted, and that is writing a lot. You need to lay off the “fake news” being posted to your Facebook feed.

    3. The downhill slide started when high schools stopped requiring civics courses. Today's youth arrive at voting age without any sense of the importance of their vote, little training in evaluating candidate claims, no understanding of how the process works. That makes them easy prey for Antifa, anarchist group, Bernie Bros, Russian ratfucking, and conservative propaganda. We need to take back our youth. Those with liberal tendencies are being lured to the dark side. Those with conservative tendencies are getting odd tattoos, shaving their heads and buying guns.

      Somerby is right! All hands to the barricades!

    4. Hardindr

      Sessions did say nothing was being done to address the Russian compromise of our voting.

    5. If you want to assert that Sen. Sanders and Bob Somerby are on “the Russians” payroll, okay, but that is as delusional as the wildest fantasies in the Far Right.

    6. Sanders campaign received lots of small non-reportable donations. When asked about the possibility some were from Russia, he said “What difference does that make?”

    7. If you think saying something (maybe) foolish like that proves Sanders is on “the Russians” payroll, if he even said it, you need help.

    8. It isn’t what he said but what he did. Lots of funding irregularities and a cavalier attitude made him a perfect Kremlin pawn. Senile hubris prevented him from accepting that he was being used.

    9. Try this rundown on the Sanders-Kremlin connection:

    10. hardindr

      I might be more impressed by the Nation article if The Nation hadn't been so actively anti-Clinton in 2016. Calling people "conspiracy theorists" doesn't address, much less discredit the content of their complaints. Louise Mensch is flakey, but the questions about Tad Devine remain. Why was he on Bernie's campaign? And the funding issues remain too. Bernie never addressed them either. The biggest argument is the obvious effect that Bernie and his Bros had on Hillary's numbers. Without Bernie's efforts, Hillary would have been able to win despite all the other stuff that happened. There is no doubt whatsoever that Bernie's campaign aided and abetted Russian goals for disrupting the election. Devine provided the Russian link, Russia provided money, and Bernie provided the naive troops to spread false anti-Clinton propaganda and enthusiastically lure the gullible away from her. It almost doesn't matter whether Bernie was a knowing ally or a fellow traveler or a dupe -- the outcome would be the same. Bernie has a lot to answer for and no one has held him accountable. Maybe after they take Trump down there will be time for an investigation of the Sanders and Stein campaigns.

      Given what we now know about Russia's interference on behalf of Trump, the possibility that Bernie was involved is just not that far-fetched. These are "by-any-means-necessary" kinds of guys.

    11. We’ll be polite and call these assertions about Sen. Sanders made with reed thin evidence foolish and unfortunate, rather than malevolent and the result of sour grapes due to the outcome of the election. We think there were problems with Bernie’s run with transparency (i.e. not releasing his full tax returns going back many years), but these kind of accusations border on libel.

    12. Or they could be true...

    13. "We'll be polite ...." "We think ...."

      You speaking for your posse? Are you a 2-headed transplant? Got a weasel in your pocket?

      Or are you simply emulating Our Own Speaking-In-First-Person-Plural blogger?

      [Waiting for Unknown to defend your right to be fatuous in 3, 2, 1 ....]

    14. Don't know where that claptrap comment came from, but if I was about defending the fatuous, you would monopolize my time, Tom, not hardindr. And if you're really new to the age-old rhetorical device you obsess on here, you need to get out (and/or just read) more.

  7. While I still really disagree with Somerby’s take on Wilson’s speech at the FBI building’s dedicafion (you have to really, really, really stretch when listening to her speech to get to that conclusion), this post was the kind of thoughtful, nuanced take I come here to read.

    Having said that, we aren’t sure we agree with the assessment of Kelly’s character. He seems to just be another Operator, willing to salute and defend whatever Trump runs up his flagpole.

    1. "this post was the kind of thoughtful, nuanced take I come here to read. "
      In between calling liberals stupid elitist failures, forbidding libs to call Trump a liar, demanding that random celebrities keep their mouths shut lest they offend the snowflake right, I'm not sure I find too many thoughtful, nuanced posts here anymore. Somerby's "outrage persona" gets in the way of sober analysis and critique.

    2. If you want to call Rep. Wilson a "random celebrity," you can, but, that's very demeaning and we wouldn't!

    3. I'm talking about his posts about LeBron James and Kathy Griffin: singularly unhelpful posts IMHO.

    4. When progressive celebrities say and do stupid things, it hurts progressivism, particularly when they do stupid stuff like D-Lister/bottom dweller Kathy Griffin did in seeking attention for herself. Dumb stuff like that goes straight to FoxNews,, and the perpetual outrage machine and reinforces negative stereotypes about progressivism. Progressives do better when they avoid being stupid and scoring own goals.

      What Lebron said was unfortunate, but, I cut him slack because I think I know what he was trying to get at, although he expressed himself poorly.

    5. "When progressive celebrities say and do stupid things, it hurts progressivism"
      I have no idea what K Griffin's politics are. Is she a "progressive?" Don't know, don't care. She is an individual, and has free speech. No one, including Somerby, can demand that she shut up, no matter how fucked up her public statements. And "progressives" as a disparate group can't be held responsible for the actions of some random citizen who may happen to be progressive. We aren't a mind-controlled collective enforcing thought control. Nor do we want to be; that would be fascism.
      And if Somerby is going to hold all progressives to account for the words of an individual, why shouldn't conservatives be held to that standard as well?
      You do realize that Somerby is echoing the tactics of the right when he uses the utterances of a single individual to smear all progressives?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. "But it's troubling to see General Kelly slipping into an Us-and-Them framework..."

    Indeed. From Frank Herbert:

    "If there is no enemy, one must be invented. The military force which is denied an external target always turns against its own people."

    The police are being militarized. I'm not the first to note this, but it's a very disturbing development.

    Back to Bob's post.


    1. I did like Somerby's take on Kelly's troubling appearance this week. In my view, TDH needs to understand that this same character trait informs Trump. But for some reason, Somerby mostly refuses to acknowledge this.

  10. "As I walk off the stage, understand there's tens of thousands of American kids, mostly, doing the nation's bidding all around the world.

    "They don't have to be in uniform."

    Why yes, they do. They have few other options when it comes to a good-paying job. I've seen it first-hand in the moribund economy which I inhabit.

    The military is America's only employment program.

    Back to the post


    1. And there are all sorts of government and private industry hiring practices in place to advantage veterans when it does come to non active duty employment.

    2. Paging Erik Prince! We need a Prince in office as never before.

  11. I have always appreciated Bob’s focus on education. I thought this latest post may have leaned that way, but no. I ran across an article, quite lengthy but nevertheless worth a read.

    In a very small bit, the interviewee mentioned PISA scores. He mentioned them in the context of global domination, so I don’t think they should be misunderstood.


    Bob is like is like me, I think, in that we share the same feeling of impending doom. I’m actually of the mind that most of us feel it. Difference is, he felt it long before I did, in a context that most don’t care understand.

    I'm hearing "Dirty Laundry" by the Eagles as I write this, courtesy of my neighbor, who likes to crank the radio.



    1. "we share the same feeling of impending doom. "
      Every generation or so has its feeling of impending doom: the USA on the brink of the civil war, the world on the brink of WWII, etc.
      But each generation (so far) has produced leaders who helped us through the crises. (Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt come to mind.) Is TDH a helpful voice today?
      TDH has helped in the past, offering a partial diagnosis of our country's illness. But is it enough to focus on "howlers"? The mocking, sarcastic tone that Somerby adopts too often these days is unhelpful in my opinion. It seems despairing, desolate, nihilistic. There are a few positive things in there still though. But we can't allow ourselves to drift into hopelessness and inaction.
      Your suggestion about the ACLU was a good one, by the way.

    2. Thanks anon. You're right about not drifting, even as the challenges that lay before us are even more daunting than any we’ve ever faced as a human civilization. I just received a copy of Chomsky’s “Optimism Over Despair.” I’ll perhaps share what I read in this place. In a non-stuttering way. :)

  12. Trump only likes winners, not loser kids who get killed in battle.

  13. I guess Bob isn’t alone in his concerns...

  14. Here's more about General Kelly:

  15. 1) Our tribal script is already in place. It says that General Kelly was wrong on his facts. Bellow, pause, repeat.
    3) No one is a perfect messenger. We'd recommend that people look for ways to halt our floundering nation's rapid steep dangerous slide.

    Bob’s method is to continue to hammer liberals over trivia while excusing the most baldfaced lies of the right, which both Kelly and Trump told this week. These ARE the methods of the right.

    This is now officially a right-wing blog.

  16. The FBI Agents were named Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove. Not Grogan and Duke.

  17. Off topic. Even the Huffington Post is now criticizing Maddow.
    What The Hell Was This Rachel Maddow Segment?

    There was just one problem. Maddow’s theory was so flimsy that it could be debunked by a quick glance at a map, let alone a phone call with an expert.

    1. In fairness, David, you should report the whole story:

  18. "Sgt. Johnson’s funeral took place at around 9:00am eastern time on Saturday. Just as the service was getting started, Trump tweeted an insult at Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a close personal friend of Johnson’s family. After one of Trump’s supporters tweeted “facing team Obama and Hillary Clinton. So they rolled out their last hope, Federica Wilson” (misspelling her name in the process), Trump quoted it and added “People get what is going on!” "

    From the Palmer Report. Trump doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

  19. I relate Rep. Wilson's inappropriate criticism of Trump's condolence call to the inappropriate lecture given to Mike Pence by the cast of "Hamilton" when he went to see that show. ISTM that both comments were based a caricature version of Republicans as ignorant racists. IMHO that sort of hate is comparable to racists whose version of blacks is automatically negative.

    1. There was nothing inappropriate about Wilson's criticism of Trump. It is telling, once again, that Trump cannot take criticism.

      It is the duty of the President to make such calls and Trump is expected to know how to do it. He once again shows his incompetence.

      And Trump keeps lying and lying. Today we encounter proof that he hadn't made such calls before claiming in public that he had done so. His staff had to scramble to support his false claim.

      It is racist to refuse to use the name of someone who is black. Trump has done this repeatedly, including Dr. Wilson, La David Johnson and his widow, Myeshia Johnson. So did Kelly. This is another dog whistle to his white supremacist followers at best and an exhibition of his own blatant racism, if we fail to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even in his tweet claiming he used Johnson's name in the call, Trump fails to use Johnson's name. Does he think we are all stupid? Trump is the racist in chief and it is a travesty that our nation is being led by someone who thinks it is OK to be callous to someone because of their skin color.

      If you keep defending Trump on this, you will be condoning this sort of behavior. Do you really want to go there, David?

    2. Trump is still calling Dr. Wilson "wacky" this morning. He just can't let this go.

    3. 12:42 -- I'm not defending Trump. As I said earlier, Trump's response to Wilson was wrong. He should have simply said he was sorry he was misunderstood.

      But, you really are defending Wilson. I don't know if you would also defend the media for giving prominence to her inappropriate criticism of Trump's condolence call. I wish you'd think about it. If Mike Pence had publicly criticized Barack Obama because of clumsy wording in a condolence call, would you really have been OK with that?

    4. Yes, I an defending Wilson. She heard the call and saw how it affected the family and complained because Trump hurt people she cares about.

      Trump then criticized Obama.

    5. As I said earlier, Trump's response to Wilson was wrong. He should have simply said he was sorry he was misunderstood.

      David, I really love my pet elephant. If only he didn't weigh 5 tons and leave hundreds of pounds of elephant shit on my lawn every day, he would be perfect pet.

      The abomination you voted for is incapable of saying something like that. Because that would be something like a human being might say, someone willing to take the high road rather than dragging the country through the sewer constantly. The person capable of doing something like that was the other person running for president. You understand? The person you voted for prefers to keep stoking the fire and keep us at each others throats.

      I have been happily surprised at his performance as President" David in Cal

    6. AnonymousOctober 22, 2017 at 3:30 PM. I take it you're Anon 12:42. I will repeat my question:
      If Mike Pence had publicly criticized Barack Obama because of clumsy wording in a condolence call, would you really have been OK with that?

    7. Trump DID criticize Obama over condolence calls -- he said Obama didn't make them.

      Trump wasn't only clumsy. He didn't know the family's names. He didn't make any calls until reporters asked about them. He never let the family talk. He talked about himself and how he was doing things other presidents hadn't done. He didn't talk about what Johnson did or how his service was important or how he died. He caused the widow to curl up in a fetal position, crying (according to her family). He was AWFUL! He wasn't just clumsy. He was self-involved, callous, uncaring, and racist. Kelly tried to cover for him by restating what he supposedly said in a way that might seem caring, but Kelly misrepresented what Trump did. He lied to cover for Trump.

      Obama would not make a clumsy call. It isn't the way Obama functions. There would be no basis for complaint. If Mike Pence or Trump were to criticize Obama for clumsy wording, I would think both Pence and Trump were lying, as usual, since that is what those guys do. And no, I am never OK with the lies they tell. I haven't been OK with Trump since before he was elected, since he was a self-involved jerk on Howard Stern, pretending to be important while confessing to horrific treatment of women.

      And I am especially not OK with the way you have been defending Trump as he lies and mistreats the families of men who have given their lives in service to our country. That is so NOT OK that words fail me. You are severely taxing the good will of folks at the blog who tolerate your trolling because you are usually civil. You are offensive today because you are behaving in not only your usual clueless way but a racist one. That is NOT OK, even for a troll.

      So please go away.

  20. mm -- I stated that blacks were advancing more quickly before the civil rights legislation of the 1960's, and that's a fact. If it makes you feel any better mm, there are also right wing partisans who mis-quote what the other side said in order to make it sound ridiculous.

    1. Really, Comrade? Is that a fact? I wonder how many black civil rights activists and black civil rights leaders agree with you. You mean George Wallace was just doing his part to keep their rapid advancement on track?

    2. mm - that fact is important. Here's a related fact: black college students from Africa and the Caribbean outperform blacks raised in the US. Although civil rights legislation did enormous good, it appears that there were also some unintended side effects that did harm. It's very important to identify these side effects and figure out ways to undo the harm.

      Simply calling anyone who raises this point a George Wallace racist won't lead to a solution.

    3. With an assist from Charles Pierce, I came across an article in Vanity Fair that details allegations made in court filings against Robert Mercer by a former business associate named David Magerman. I am not surprised by Mercer’s banal views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its effects, but I am relieved to see Mercer’s views on what’s “not important.”

      In court papers filed on Friday, Magerman argues that following a pair of phone conversations in which Mercer expressed arguably racist opinions, Magerman felt obliged to inform the press about his boss’s viewpoints—and that he received verbal assurance by Renaissance C.O.O. Mark Silber that the statements he intended to make were “permissible under company policy.” Those racist opinions, according to Magerman, included comments such as: a) The United States began to go in the wrong direction after the passage of the Civl Rights Act in the 1960s; b) African Americans were doing fine in the late-1950s and early-1960s before the Civil Rights Act; c) The Civil Rights Act “infantilized” African Americas by making them dependent on government and removing any incentive to work;d) The only racist people remaining in the United States are black; and e) White people have no racial animus toward African Americans anymore, and if there is any, is it not something that the government should be concerned with.

      The best part of the filing, at least to us, was that when Magerman “point[ed] out that society was segregated before the Civil Rights Act and African Americans were required to use separate and inferior schools, water fountains, and other everyday services and items,” Mercer allegedly responded that “those issues were not important.” In a subsequent phone conversation (the “white supremacist” one), Magerman claimed Mercer initially “disputed that he had said such things, although he did not actually deny saying them” and “in the course of rehashing the conversation . . . repeated many of these same views, and even cited research that allegedly supported his opinion that the Civil Rights Act harmed African Americans economically.” (A spokesman for Renaissance declined to comment.)

    4. ways to undo the harm..

      1. Stop fucking with their right to vote.

    5. Were you a member of the John Birch Society, Comrade DinC? It kind of fits. I understand they had a pretty strong presence in SoCal.

      American politics long has been afflicted with wingnut plutocrats; after all, back in 1958, when he invited 11 men of considerable net worth to Indiana to help him found the John Birch Society, Robert Welch didn't hire out of the Yellow Pages. Fred Koch, father of Charles and David, was one of them. So was Robert Stoddard, the president of the Wyman Gordon Company and owner of my two hometown newspapers. Certainly, the Kochs have held true to the family politics. And the Mercers represent the next generation of that same peculiar conservative fauna. The JBS believed much the same things about civil rights legislation that, according to Magerman, Robert Mercer does.

      How you can believe that in 2017 is another question entirely. We should keep an eye on this case, if only as a bulwark against any claims that the election of the 45th president* was not energized primarily by the racist manifestation of an ancient national Id.

    6. David, the better performance of immigrants of African heritage occurs because of selection bias.

    7. 5:41 - sure, but that's kind of circular reasoning. The African and West Indian blacks do better because they're selected for traits that lead to academic success, such as good work habits, ambition, commitment, etc. But, why aren't American black students equally strong in these traits?

    8. mm -- I think you have committed the Guilt by Association fallacy. That's always a feeble argument It's particularly feeble here since it references people and groups I haven't even associated with.

    9. Selection bias occurs because the people from the West Indes who immigrate to the USA are more likely to have those traits than the ones who stay home. The American black students include both the students who have those traits and the ones who do not whereas the immigrant kids all have those traits while the West Indian kids who did not have them stayed behind in the West Indes. It is thus not a fair comparison.

      This problem is true in all the comparisons you want to make between immigrant groups and the broader American population. The immigrants are self-selected and the ones who come here are different than the ones who stay behind. So it is not a fair comparison.

      I know this has been explained to you before. You are supposedly an actuary and thus have the training in statistics to understand what selection bias means. Why does this explanation never sink in?

      When someone continues to hold an entrenched negative attitude toward a group, such as those American black kids, despite being confronted by explanation of why they aren't doing as well as immigrants, that is a textbook example of racism.

    10. Give me a break 7:15. People who realistically focus on the true impediments to black Americans and who seek effective steps that would bring improvement are anything but racists.

      Getting back to the debate, you say the situation is the same with all immigrant groups. I guess that would mean that Caucasian foreign students outperform American Caucasians, same for Japanese foreign students vs. Japanese-Americans, Chinese, Indians, Korean, etc. But, is it really the case that the foreign students outperform comparable American students? I have never seen that alleged. Can you point to evidence that this is the case?

    11. No David, I did not commit the guilt by association fallacy. What the hell are you talking about. I simply pointed out how your racist view of history has a long and proud tradition in the conservative movement, of which you are definitely associated with.

    12. David, test scores for Asian immigrant kids are higher than for 2nd generation Asian American kids. The more time in the US the lower their scores.

  21. Somerby says: "In our view, General Kelly's factual errors were largely trivial."
    And yet, Somerby rakes liberals over the coals for just such "trivial" errors, on a daily basis.
    Somerby also says: "Our tribal script is already in place. It says that General Kelly was wrong on his facts. Bellow, pause, repeat"
    The cognitive dissonance here is striking. Kelly WAS wrong. But somehow, correctly pointing this
    out somehow is STILL part of our "tribal script."
    You don't win a debate or an election by allowing the lies, slanders, and misstatements of the other side to go unchallenged. This is the clearest evidence yet that Somerby isn't remotely interested anymore in championing the liberal cause.

    1. Both-siderism is a strategy to minimize the egregious lies of the right. Anyone who does it is doing the dirty-work for the most despicable forces in the country.

  22. Bob Somerby: “In our view, General Kelly's factual errors were largely trivial.”

    But not in the view of, say, PolitiFact (which rendered a blunt verdict of False), nor of IJR's Tommy Christopher (who also tweeted a list of twenty falsehoods in Kelly’s speech).

    But, bah, humbug, Rachel Maddow once put a lid on her head! That's not trivial! Why, that's worth a good four or five blog-columns mentioning all to itself, along with the products being advertised during commercial breaks as mentioned by other people who merely discuss the show!

    1. Totally righteous indignation dude.

  23. "Miami Gardens, Florida is full of great kids. (The same is true of Puyallup, Washington; Springboro, Ohio; and Lyons, Georgia, the hometowns of the other three men who died in Niger this month.)"

    Thanks to Frederica Wilson and people like her.

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