Saturday Rate of Exchange:
Is NFL Boycott Racist?

from Raymond

The head of a family business, a retailer of spices, is impatient with conservative critics of NFL protests. Those who kneel during the National Anthem are protesting racism, and conservatives should acknowledge that. Wisconsin conservative James Wigderson is having none of it.

He is a little over-enthusiastic in his objection, accusing the spice critic of conservative critics of NFL critics of racism of saying something that a careful reading does not reveal, that “being upset at players in the National Football League (NFL) who protest during the national anthem is racist.”

Mr. Wigderson does quote his target, “For Veterans Day, out of respect for Veterans, can we all just be honest and admit that the NFL protests really are about racism?” and adds Except they’re not.

Our readers react:


What I always wonder is, is there any form of protest by black people against police brutality that these people would find acceptable? They’re always quick to explain why whatever form of protest is actually being used is wrong, but what are the protesters supposed to do? Other than simply shut up about the problem?

Kneeling during the anthem seems to me to be a textbook case of how protesting an injustice should work. It is not violent. The players are not smashing windows or blocking traffic. The protest is highly visible — as it must be, in order to be effective. It’s not obvious to me that kneeling is disrespectful, but even if it is, perhaps conservatives should put aside their righteous indignation for a few minutes and consider the relative importance of things. Isn’t the death of Tamir Rice a more worthy object of anger than kneeling during a piece of music?


If you could convince them that accusations against the police are not automatically suspect, that accusations against the police from particular minority groups are not doubly so, and that these accusations represent a significant pattern of injustice, you might make some progress. That’s quite a task, though, given their kneejerk reactions to anything critical of law enforcement (and the military), their perceptions of minorities (especially the criminal kind), and their general lack of concern for what happens to criminals (“they deserve what they get”).

Even then, the method of protest violates a sacred act in their eyes. Just as importantly, they are incapable of seeing their own hypocrisy on this matter. How many of them observe the proper ritual at home? How many of them wish that it would hurry up so they could watch the game? How many of them simply go through the motions because it’s expected? How many of them, once the song ends, begin to stuff their faces with food, pray for their god to intervene on behalf of their team, curse at the other team, and generally obsess over the sport as if the anthem had never played? The ritual itself, as with most acts that are expected and repeated over and over again (especially without regard for the relevance that it has to its setting), has become an empty tradition for most people, but it has nevertheless retained its sacred aura. And that means that they get to feel righteous indignation whenever anyone falls out of line or calls it into question. Throw in some rhetoric from conservative figures and media about how not falling in line is equivalent to hating America and you end up with a group of people completely incapable of assessing the situation rationally. It doesn’t matter that the protest is harmless or that it is not meant as an act of disrespect against anything besides the *actual subject of the protest.* These people are trained to think otherwise and they get to feel good doing it. Besides: why should they care when it doesn’t happen to them?

The irony here is that, to the extent that these people define the country, they give us a legitimate reason to actually disrespect it.

Dave Dubya:

Isn’t the death of Tamir Rice a more worthy object of anger than kneeling during a piece of music?

Not at all worthy for angry white con-servatives. They likely won’t even recognize the name.

Any and all of their protests are used to ramp up hate for minorities. Now the angry white con-servatives have a racist ring leader in the Very White House to egg them on. BLM has been declared a “racist hate group” by angry white con-servatives.

While I’m not ashamed of America, I am deeply ashamed, and frightened, of angry white Americans. Their hate and ignorance are ripping our country apart. And this is their time. Trump is their man.

The question remains; is it too late?

Infidel753 writes with wisdom and research here.

Dave Dubya’s discerning observations are here.

Long-time friend of the blog Ryan did once maintain his own site. But he seems to have become involved in real life. We are lucky to benefit from his occasional insights.

Have a safe weekend.

A Suicide Bomber and a Policeman’s Heroic Bear Hug

found online by Raymond

From The New York Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan — No one will ever know what went through the mind of Afghan Police Lt. Sayed Basam Pacha in those moments when he came face to face with a man he suspected of being a suicide bomber on Thursday afternoon, but whatever it was, he did not hesitate to act.

At his back was a crowd of civilians, many of them dignitaries, leaving the hall he was guarding. Around him were officers from the police company he commanded. The suspect had just approached their heavily guarded gate, the only way in or out of the compound around the hall.

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Only a Fool Would Take a Spymaster at His Word

found online by Raymond

From Earth-Bound Misfit:

Trump is just that sort of fool:

DANANG, Vietnam — President* Trump said on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling questions about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated “hit job” that was hindering cooperation with Russia on life-or-death issues.

Of course Trump knows, by now, that the Russians have been meddling in our elections. The professional intelligence people have been telling him that.

But Trump won’t listen.

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Vergangenheits-Bewältigung in America

found online by Raymond

From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

This year represents the 25th anniversary of one of the great enduring memes of modern American culture and politics. In his thundering speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, former Nixon hatchet man and Adolf Hitler admirer-turned GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan darkly warned of a “cultural war” already underway, one he deemed a “struggle for the soul of America.” After Buchanan concluded by proclaiming that “block by block … we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country,” the late humorist Molly Ivins joked:

Many people did not care for Buchanan’s speech. It probably sounded better in the original German.

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Roy Moore and the Holy War on the Right

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

What’s striking to me is how closely the divide over Moore on the right correlates with the religious/secular divide. The very people who generally exhibit an outright obsession with Christianity’s sexual taboos are going all out to defend a man plausibly accused of sexual misbehavior that would have them foaming at the mouth with condemnation in most cases. It’s reminiscent of their willingness to overlook Trump’s sexual and other moral transgressions.

This isn’t really so surprising. First, they’ve had plenty of previous opportunities to practice such hypocrisy. Consider the many leading Christian Right personalities who have been caught in illicit behavior — Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, George Rekers, Josh Duggar, Ted Haggard, a few zillion Catholic priests, and on and on. Nor are such transgressions rare among less-prominent clerical figures. But the importance Christianity gives to repentance and forgiveness provides a ready-made template for cutting the holy men plenty of slack, while that same fixation on the mental state of the “sinners” leaves little room for attention to their victims, who are reduced to mere stage props for the central story of the victimizer’s fall and redemption. Moore, whose long record of vehement hostility to gay rights, abortion, and separation of church and state puts most fundie preachers in the shade, fits this template perfectly.

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The Absurd Collapse of the American Ideal

We heard it as an impromptu bit of indelicate phrasing:

He was President, The World Trade Center came down during his reign.

Candidate Donald Trump, February 13, 2016

He was President, okay? Don’t blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was President.

Americans were taken aback at the brashness of the accusation, at the casual way it was tossed into the debate. President George W. Bush was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

There was a factual basis for the accusation. It was not simply the most reported incident, the President’s Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001. A month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush heard the summary which began this way:

Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US

It was not only his dismissive response:

All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.

The institutional temptation is understandable. A new administration assumes office promising a change in national direction. Warnings, even desperate warnings, from the outgoing administration are easy to brush aside. The pleas to deal with the threat of terrorism were dismissed with derisive laughter.

Bill Clinton and his National Security team had practically begged President Bush and his people to take international terrorism seriously. They were brushed off. Agents that had been focused on stopping attacks were reassigned. Budgets were reduced. Programs were discontinued.

Donald Trump had historical evidence on his side. The gasp at the attack on a fellow Republican, the last Republican President, went beyond his words.

Headlines were all variations of the same note:

Trump blames George W. Bush for 9/11

Even now the real significance is hidden in the shock of accusation. The candidate described the time the previous Republican President had spent in office this way:
Continue reading “The Absurd Collapse of the American Ideal”

Back to the Front

found online by Raymond

From Vincent at A Wayfarer’s Notes:

We just got back from the Remembrance Day Parade in town. There was a biting wind. In previous years we’ve attended the church service, but today it was enough to watch the march-past, the saluting of and by the senior officers; to see the Mayor, aldermen, bigwigs, old soldiers and uniformed youth. We were dressed soberly, wore poppies on our lapels; consciously commemorated those who died defending our country from real or imagined threats; listened to the Last Post played on the bugle; observed a two-minute silence; glimpsed the laying of wreaths; heard and and felt the gusts of wind through the streets, a weird roaring and moaning which shook the trees and reminded us that for all our fancy dress and posturing, untamed nature still rules. The only human sounds were restless babies. It was worth going for the dignified silence, the sense of unity, the respect, the lack of discordant incident. While hurrying home to warmth and comfort, we reassured ourselves and one another that it was worthwhile coming. We’ll go on doing it while we can. The year before last, an elderly woman laid her wreath at the war memorial in the churchyard, along with all the others, then collapsed and died. I don’t know who she was, but it was as if she’d stayed alive by willpower for this one last deeply personal thing. Thus we construct our own meanings, in life and in death. Like those who fell, in every war.

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Both Sides Suck

found online by Raymond

From PZ Myers:

Sean Hannity has been defending creepy hebephile Roy Moore, so people have been calling for advertisers to pull their ads from the Hannity show. One advertiser who has done so is Keurig, which has been prompting the triggered snowflakes on the right to #boycottkeurig. Suddenly I’m seeing angry videos of right-wingers throwing Keurig machines from balcony windows or shooting them with shotguns. It’s absurd.

But what is equally absurd is that I’m seeing liberals declaring that they’re going to buy Keurig machines, or trade in their Nestle equivalent for a Keurig, or are celebrating by drinking coffee from their Keurig. Aaaaargh.

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