Sunday Commentary II: Can We Elevate Our Level of Discourse by Cleaning Up Our Verbiage?

MicrophoneTwice this week I have been taken aback by the casual use of invective pejorative phrases in our everyday political discourse. As we head into another election year in the political cycle, it seems like the rhetoric is probably running amuck.

I am still a little floored that Donald Trump, for instance, got away with tweeting about commentator Fox Megyn Kelly that “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” – ironically, after Ms. Kelly had pressed Mr. Trump about sexist comments in the past, such as calling some women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”

While he got criticized by the establishment, if anything, the exchange has elevated his standing in the primaries.

Two more local examples of this came in the last few days. The Vanguard reported that the group UNITE HERE Local 49 is asking for the city, before granting the proposed Embassy Suites Hotel-Conference center a specific plan amendment, to consider the wages that would be paid to hotel workers. They write, “You can have high-road employers who agree to work collaboratively with their employees to create good jobs, or you can have low-road employers whose business model is based on low-wage jobs.”

They concluded, “We urge you not to encourage this kind of irresponsible development, and not to give the developers the gift they are asking for, unless and until they demonstrate a real commitment to good jobs and a healthy Davis community.”

Some of our posters likened the union’s request to the mob “demanding ‘protection payments’ from business owners.”

I don’t know where I come down on the issue of the pay or whether the city of Davis ought to get involved in the issue. But I certainly think it is fair for the union to raise the point, and I certainly did not see even an implied threat in their letter.

I rarely get involved in these kinds of discussions, asking whether we have regressed in political discourse so far, necessitating that a letter requesting the city take into account concerns about wages be compared to a mob demand to pay or face consequences. I don’t know if I agree with the letter or not, but I very much decry the mob comparison as unfair and inflammatory.

One of the posters responded, “It was not my intention to infer that the union would ever be violent in my comparison. I was trying to point out the influence the union has on a city council with members that aspire to be elected to higher offices asking them to make decisions not for the good of the city, but that have positive effects for the union.”

That is certainly a point that I have argued in the past, especially with regard to the firefighters’ union’s influence on past councils and current councilmembers – without the pejorative “mob” reference which, contrary to the poster’s argument, does imply violence and lack of legitimacy.

The bottom line is that the union was not threatening the city – it was merely asking that the city consider wages when they make a decision and that consideration is something I support. But even if I didn’t, I think the “mob” analogy has no legitimate place in civil discourse. It simply serves to delegitimitize a position out of hand.

Another term that caught my eye was in this sentence: “If you believe these thugs didn’t participate in the girl’s beating you would have to believe that this group of thugs participated in multiple false confessions about the same crime.”

The question is why the term “thug” was needed.   The term thug is considered loaded, and many believe it is a “racial slur.” A fascinating article in Newsweek lays out the history of the term, which is more complex than it might seem.

Why the need to pejoratively label people – as thugs? As one poster commented, “What would you call a group of guys running through a park beating and assaulting victims? I call them thugs. What would you call them? Poor, misunderstood, misguided products of society?”

As parents, we are taught to label the behavior without labeling the individual – as labeling the individual can cause the individual to embody the negative characteristics of the label.

I would also point out that, the labeling aside, the core contention is a false contention by the poster. There is no clear evidence that the individuals participated in the beating other than their confessions – and the confessions omitted key pieces of evidence about both the scene and the attack. It is entirely possible, based on twenty years of research on false confessions, that the five individuals (actually, four individuals confessed) could have falsely confessed.

What we more likely have is a group of young men who were in the park and probably assaulted people. While we do not have proof of that, there is evidence to that effect. On the other hand, those men have been out of prison for 15 to 20 years now and none of them has committed a new violent act.

So, maybe instead of labeling people with derogatory labels and calling them thugs, we should condemn the act while supporting the individual. Or perhaps we should follow the teachings of organized religion which calls for us to love the sinner and hate the sin.

Have we really lost our articulation ability such that, in public conversations, we have no better terms than “thug” to refer to a misguided group of young men causing trouble? Maybe we can skip the pejoratives and work on changing the behavior.

—David M Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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97 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    What we more likely have is a group of young men who were in the park and probably assaulted people. While we do not have proof of that, there is evidence to that effect.

    So they were acting like “thugs”.  They may have come around and straightened their lives out now but back then they were thugs.  “Thugs” has nothing to do with race, any race can act like a thug.  We’ve been down this road before.
    Speaking of “invective pejorative phrases” why aren’t you mentioning this post from the comment section of the same article:

    Trump is a loud-mouthed, bigoted thug and an a**-hole. No news here.

    BTW, Trump is called a thug and he’s white.  

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Thugs” has nothing to do with race, any race can act like a thug. 

      it’s not clear that’s the case.  most people see a heavy racial loading.  i’m not sure the context of the trump is a thug, but the term seems misapplied there.

      1. Barack Palin

        LOL, so you’re justifying the calling of Trump a thug but when it’s used against blacks it’s racist?  Hypocritical at all?

        most people see a heavy racial loading

        No, most people don’t.

        This article says it best:

        What is a thug? It is anyone who uses violence, brutality, abuse, and intimidation against others. It is however NOT a racist term, unless of course you are a racist!
        The American dictionary defines thug as: a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
        The British dictionary defines thug as: a tough and violent man, esp a criminal
        I have never associated the term “thug” with any particular skin color or race, ever! And I suspect most people do not.
        However, today it seems if you use this word you are now a racist and it has, according to some so called journalists from MSNBC and others – thug is the new ‘n’ word. They’re kidding right? Unfortunately no.
        When I hear the word thug my mind goes to those in the Mafia, gangsters, mobsters, enforcers for loan sharks, those who bully others etc. It does NOT promote in my mind pictures of someone who is black, white or even purple!
        Those who are now claiming this term as racist are in fact THE racists!

        http://www.bubblews.com/posts/thug-is-not-a-racist-term

        1. Davis Progressive

          how am i justifying it when i’m saying it wasn’t used properly?

          why are you quoting “bubblews” when newsweek did a much more thorough article on the subject that the vanguard linked to in the article.

        2. Barack Palin

          Your chronic use of the term LOL invokes thoughts in me of a schoolyard verbal bully, laughing at folks who have a different opinion.

          So is LOL now a forbidden term too?

        3. Barack Palin

          Your chronic use of the term LOL invokes thoughts in me of a schoolyard verbal bully, laughing at folks who have a different opinion.

          If something as harmless as “LOL” invokes those types of thoughts in you than you might want to learn the meaning of this word:

          Merriam-Webster
          hypersensitive
          : having feelings that are very easily hurt

          : very strongly and easily affected or harmed by something (such as a drug)
           

           

    2. sisterhood

      You remind of the ex Sac Sheriff whom I worked with. One day I called him on his use of the term gangbanger as his offensive way to describe blacks. He swore he was not being racist, but funny how he only referred to blacks as gang-bangers.

      1. Barack Palin

        Gangbangers come in many different colors and races.  They’re usually thugs who are members of a gang.  Anyway, I’m always leary of anecdotal stories as people often use them to enforce a point when we have no way of really knowing if they’re true or not.

        1. Barack Palin

          You aren’t going to stop me from using the term “thug”.

          Merriam Webster:

          Full Definition of THUG

          :  a brutal ruffian or assassin 

          I don’t care whatever PC definition you are trying to associate with the word.

        2. Barack Palin

          Maybe the word “thug” will now be taboo on the Vanguard, unless of course it’s used to describe someone on the conservative side of the political spectrum.  I say that because the Vanguard only protests criminal blacks being called thugs, but when Trump was referred to as a thug not a peep was heard.

        3. sisterhood

          Funny I could tell you the exact month, year and name of the ex Sheriff, but out of respect for my dad’s profession, and fear of a long legal battle from the ex Sheriff, I won’t bother. You either believe me, or you don’t. I actually have come to decide readers of this blog who feel racism largely is no longer an issue abhor racism so very much, they just can’t believe it still exists in a nice little town like Davis. So it makes me feel kind of good that they don’t want to acknowledge it. That’s just how I choose to deal w/ some opinions on this site: well meaning opinions, just not seeing reality sometimes.

        4. Barack Palin

          That’s just how I choose to deal w/ some opinions on this site: well meaning opinions, just not seeing reality sometimes.

          And that’s how I see it too.

  2. Tia Will

    BP

    They may have come around and straightened their lives out now”

    And is this not exactly the outcome that we are seeking? So instead of name calling for decades old behavior, should we not be praising the turn around that they have made in their lives ? It is well known that praising desired behavior is more effective in eliciting change than is punishment for the behavior that we do not want, which frequently only results in more creative ways of hiding the bad behavior. So what is it that we really want as a society. Are we more invested in the prevention of future wrongdoing and rehabilitation , or are we going to continue to make huge monetary investments in strategies that lead to high recidivism rates ?

    1. Frankly

      It is well known that praising desired behavior is more effective in eliciting change than is punishment for the behavior that we do not want.

      Too bad you don’t practice this principle very well in everything you demand.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Examples please of what you think that I “demand”. I don’t see that I have “demanded” anything at all. I use my voice and this blog to express my opinions. I do not degrade or call others names. I do not make assumptions of what others do or do not know. I vote my own conscience, not yours. But demands….. ?

  3. Frankly

    This article is effective at illuminating the great divide between those afflicted with hypersensitivity and everyone else.

    Which group do you belong?

    Trump is direct and speaks his mind.  He treats women as with no more or less respect than he treats men.  He treats people of different races no different than he treats whites.  He is highly critical of everyone.

    And this is what causes the hypersensitive to explode.  They have gotten used to the dual demand of equality for all with special treatment for people belonging to designated victim group status.

    Here is a little secret.  There is no more glass ceiling or racial bias worthy of continued social debate.  The new ceiling is the demarcation of those not demonstrating successful behavior, and those unable to control their hypersensitivity.  Do you think Megyn Kelly goes home to cry over what Trump said.  Is she forming a PAC to attack him and make him “pay” for his “hurtful” remarks?  Or, is she simply a capable adult able to understand and accept that words are just words and people say stupid things in emotional outbursts.  And she also knows that some of the biggest jerks are those willing and able to stay within the boundaries of what the hypersensitive will accept.

    If we are all going to have useful conversations then there is a need to meet in the middle.  The hypersensitive are going to have to stop with the demanded that their membership in a victim group, or as a self-anointed victim group advocate, entitles them to dismiss their own inability to control their emotional response to words.  And those lacking sensitivity are going to have to learn techniques to minimize the burn caused the hypersensitive.

    Like most media hits on people for saying hurtful words, this article in only a one-way street.  The main reason that Trump is so popular is because we have given way too much power to the hypersensitive and they have effectively killed meaningful debate…  except for one-sided shouting and meetings of only like-minded people.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      He is highly critical of everyone.”

      Except himself. He seems to have absolutely no introspective capacity.

      Do you think Megyn Kelly goes home to cry over what Trump said.  Is she forming a PAC to attack him and make him “pay” for his “hurtful” remarks?  Or, is she simply a capable adult able to understand and accept that words are just words and people say stupid things in emotional outbursts”

      Of course she doesn’t. She probably exults in it since her continued success is dependent upon media exposure. But this completely misses the point of your second comment. Do we really want a man who is unable to control his own emotional outbursts as the purported leader of the free world ? I don’t see how you can both laude emotional control ( Kelly ) and defend the lack thereof ( Trump) in the same sentence.

      except for one-sided shouting and meetings of only like-minded people.”.

      Which perfectly exemplifies the Trump approach

       

      1. Frankly

        Except himself. He seems to have absolutely no introspective capacity.

        I disagree completely.   Few if any get to Trump’s level of success without constant and abundant introspection.

         

      2. Miwok

        I will jump in before Frankly and Tia dominate the conversation –

        As a public speaker for over 35 years, I see phrases and references of words inflame and incite even the calmest of people. I use  them for entertainment. Other use them to antagonize. Our base instincts are aroused, and Vanguard readers are either incited or inflamed.

        As parents, we are taught to label the behavior without labeling the individual – as labeling the individual can cause the individual to embody the negative characteristics of the label.

        When a person becomes the act, lives the act, and is the act, what do you call it? I resent some people trying to save the criminal from their act, defend a criminal from the act, as some commenters do, as a parent would a child.

        If you think the criminals will “outgrow” their propensity for violence, how many victims of these children will be left in their wake? How many of your children will be victims? How many of you or your parents? This is the ludicrous argument of people who think recent criminals need to have “understanding” and argue for “justice” for them while denying the rest of us some justice or protection in the same breath?

        We just want to be safe.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “When a person becomes the act, lives the act, and is the act, what do you call it? I resent some people trying to save the criminal from their act, defend a criminal from the act, as some commenters do, as a parent would a child.”

          why do you resent that?  part of the answer to the problem of criminality is to lift the individuals up, to teach them that they are defined by their worst moments and worst mistakes and to give them the opportunity to improve themselves and their conduct.  since less than 1 percent of people are in custody for life, most people are getting another opportunity to do better.  why compound that by attaching labels to them rather than giving them tools to escape their past?

        2. Miwok

          DP, I resent it because the victims get less support, while your arguments glorify the person who committed the bad acts. You want to concentrate your resources on people who commit crimes, instead of raising some efforts for the victims, and I hear nothing for the victims. The perpetrator also is not responsible for making amends of any kind with people like you arguing for our understanding.

          Maybe a two pronged way of thinking needs to evolve from the community where the victims and the criminals get help? This Neighborhood Court stuff is supposedly a way to do this, but I have not seen criminals make full restitution in the articles I have read, nor the emotional harm they do to the people and their children who lose is addressed?

          Your thoughts?

        3. Davis Progressive

          i’m very much in agreement on the need for a more restorative approach.  i think creating a system where an offender has to recognize the harm that they have caused is important.  i guess i don’t agree that offenders get more support.

          other suboptimal substance abuse, offenders don’t get the kind of career training they need, they hammered in the probation process with all sorts of fees and requirements, they have trouble getting a job due to felony status, they are not qualified for a whole host of public assistance.

          should victims get more?  i think so.  under marsy’s law they get a whole bunch of rights.  in most counties like yolo they get access to services through the victim’s services center.  should it be more?  probably, but it’s more than they used to get.

        4. Miwok

          Thank you, DP, I know that people are sometimes defined by their acts, but no one reports “the warehouse worker arrested for drugs” or the “preacher arrested for stealing”, they arrest “Drug Dealers” or Thieves, because that is all they do and are. I don’t have any sympathy for that.

          I get annoyed when some Vanguard comments put criminals above victims in the social order. I am sometimes too emotional in my responses, but many readers here are too. It may take a lifetime of restoration for a victim to feel normal again, PTSD is a weird thing, and you don’t have to go to war to experience it. That may come out in my comments. That is my life experience speaking.

        5. Tia Will

          Miwok

          We just want to be safe”

          If this were true, you and I would be in complete agreement. But by their own statements, some bloggers here, and many public officials believe in punishment as well as public safety. I am not sure who your are including in your use of the word “we”, but I am quite sure that this is not the only reason that many people believe in long prison sentences.

        6. Miwok

          Tia, I will not include you in my “we”. You apparently can defend yourself against attacks on your person, and you don’t consider your home your castle?

          I was brought up to:

          Earn what you have, not take things that are yours, stay out of places that I do not have permission to enter, and that has served me well. Being honest was another. That is my “we”. People of integrity.

          Apparently you were raised differently, and respect dishonest people who steal, lie, and don’t respect others? You can’t convince me that those actions are “cultural” and need to be respected?

        7. Frankly

          Friends on mine that wear their liberal label proudly were taking about some newsworthy crime in Sacramento and the father of this liberal clan said:

          “Just imagine how terrible their upbringing and family live must have been to cause them to turn to a life of crime and act out like that.”

          Nuff said.

    2. Anon

      Trump is direct and speaks his mind.

      You want to hold up Trump as a good example of how people should act?    I consider Trump to be a spoiled child in a grown man’s body.  The only reason Trump gets away with what he says and does is because he has lots of money to throw around to buy air time.  Trump is not doing the GOP any favors (and the GOP knows it).

      To another point made, when a political candidate has to resort to name calling or the type of rhetoric spewed by Trump, it is because they don’t have anything substantive to say about the issues.  Personally I am not as interested in what a politician thinks of others as I am what the politician thinks about the issues of the day and how s/he would address the issues.

      1. Frankly

        As I have said, I would never vote for him, but I appreciate the fact that he is saying many things that need to be said.  You cannot effectively say these things while walking on all the media and politico controlled PC correctness and hypersensitivity rules.  I like the fact that he and Bernie Sanders are doing the same from both ends of the political spectrum.  Of course Sanders does not get the same attention for the absurd things he says because he is a darling of the media which tilts extremely left.

        Both of them are a but whacked, but we should all focus on the substance of their positions instead of throwing fits over the words they use.  I would say that those that make a big deal of the words being said are in fact acting like spoiled children that never learned how to control their own emotional impulses or that maybe were passive aggressive bossy as a child and never grew out of it.

        1. Anon

          You cannot effectively say these things while walking on all the media and politico controlled PC correctness and hypersensitivity rules.

          I would argue that you can effectively talk about immigration reform, or chastise a reporter for asking gotcha questions without the type of rhetoric used by Trump and his ilk.   There is a professional way to say things and an immature way to say things. I find professionalism far more convincing, as I think most people do.

        2. Frankly

          I find professionalism far more convincing, as I think most people do.

          Judging by the popularity of Trump, I think you might be wrong about this.

          Representative governance is by the people for the people.  I think a lot of people are tired of the professional politicians that whitewashes his/her speech and tiptoes around the issues so as to not offend anyone of the many protected victim class groups.

          I don’t know your background, but in the large executive meetings I would attend, we talked about implementing all the sensitivity training and rules only to prevent lawsuits, but because we thought it was good for business or even the people being “protected”.  None of those people demanding “protection” would ever make it into the executive ranks… but because of any bias over their race, gender, etc… but because of objective assessment of their inability to effectively manage due to problems with hypersensitivity.

          Trump is successful because he understands human capability and can easily spot the snowflakes and let them go.

        3. tribeUSA

          Frankly–another good summary 9:56 am! I would add that I don’t think Trump is ‘whacked’, he is a very sane and smart man, and his rhetorical flourishes tend to include exaggerrations, for dramatic effect; furthermore he often speaks off the cuff (as opposed to the other candidates, who have prepared statements like the well-coifed corporatized marketing people that they in effect are), and makes some mistakes.

    3. Davis Progressive

      Trump is direct and speaks his mind.  He treats women as with no more or less respect than he treats men.  He treats people of different races no different than he treats whites.  He is highly critical of everyone.

      if you are trying to argue that trump is not necessarily bigoted in his treatment of women and immigrants, you may have a point.  but he’s rude and crass and i don’t think that’s acceptable whether he’s equal opportunity or not.

      1. Frankly

        He is rude and crass.  So is Jon Stewart.  So is David Letterman.  So is Bernie Sanders.  So is Rahm Emanuel. So is Barack Obama.  So are a whole lot of people on the left.  The difference is that they are better charlatans and lairs hiding their true feelings while mouthing the PC-correctness-sanctioned language so as to not become a lightning rod for the media and hypersensitive.

        You need to think a bit harder about this position.  Two people are having a conversation and someone utters a WORD and we then degrade to a media storm about the WORD.  Do you really just want to listen to and elect actors, or do you want listen to and elect people that have ideas and can get things done?

        1. Frankly

          Two wrongs don’t make a right.

          You say it is wrong, I say it is human.  I say we are DE-humanizing conversation.   Not everyone is gifted with such diplomacy as you Anon.  Do we benefit from setting that bar so high to exclude those that are crass and rude at times?

          So you say something considered crass and rude and now you are kicked out and never allowed to participate?  To me that is just another type of aggression and meanness.

    4. tribeUSA

      Frankly–good summary 8:52 am yesterday. And additionally, it seems to me that society is encouraging and rewarding the development of hypersensitive attitudes and sensibilities. The brutal aspects of life continue on unabated on average for most people over the last few decades; but recently there has been a trend to hush over all but the officially-socially/politically-marketed brutalities and injustices (or just plain indignities of life, which we all have a share of)  with soft words so as not to offend those that are word-hypersensitive.

  4. Biddlin

    Here is where I am in agreement with Frankly, who still has not apologized or been sanctioned for his libel upon me in the Trump thread, but since he described himself so plainly, I am not surprised.

    I like a “no holds barred”, ” no autopsy, no foul”  kind of forum. You learn so much more about you co-contributors, but the fact is, that David is the owner and gets it his way. He is most certainly accountable for some (I’d say much) of the anti-union bias on the Vanguard, he is the one who decides  how to define “anti-union” and so can classify his revenge against the FFs as “objective reporting.”

    And yes, Frankly, some members are more sensitive than others(Remarkably, the range of emotions and responses is quite varied among our 7.4 billion human cohabitants) and sometimes when we “cross the line” of civility, we lose resources that are valuable to the discussion and, in your case, offend and hurt neighbours’ feelings.

    There is a great tradition of mudslinging in American politics.( John Quincy Adams’ supporters produced hand bills accusing Andrew Jackson of ruthlessly executing deserters and cannibalism during military campaigns. Where did you think “Swift-boating” came from.) On average, each of the few Americans who voted in the last Presidential election probably watched 2 minutes of serious Q&A and hours of hit ads. “Joe Harper had his chance in congress and spent your tax dollars on vacations in Hawaii, with his  staff.” ” Lou Castilagno  would make your children walk 5 miles to school, in another community…” We are all, of course, free to use our reason and senses to separate the wheat from the chaff, restricted only by our own curiosity, or lack thereof and beliefs(prejudices), but the reality is, media and government give us what we repeatedly tell them we want, with our money and our votes.

    ;>)/

    1. Frankly

      I appreciate this Biddlin… although I don’t know why you think you are owed an apology for anything I wrote about you.

      Here is the problem with your point here.  We have tipped too far toward limiting speech.  I talk all the time to people that think I am nuts for taking on the status quo on this blog or in other media.  They tell me all the time how they agree with me but would never say it for fear of retribution from the armies of speech control and political correctness. David probably wrings his hands that too much partisan and directness turns off people from participating on his blog… well those would be the hypersensitive people.  Because there are many, many more that would participate if they did not fear being attacked for saying a WORD that has been put on the list… and that  list grows every day as new hypertensive emotions develop.  For example, if use the term “liberal” all the hackles go up.  Why?  Call me a “conservative” and I accept it as accurate for who I am.  Pretty soon Don Shor will add “liberal” as a new derogatory term banned from being used.

      The campuses are a mess with this type of thing… people simply saying that the “don’t feel safe” and then the speaker with less that complete liberal certification gets canceled.

      You should thank me for helping to prevent you and others do more damage to your freedoms of speech and expression.

      If allowed speech is only that which you agree with and that does not make you feel uncomfortable at times, then it is not free.  But there are lines of civility and general decency we should demand.  Unfortunately we are far, far away from that line…

      We seem to live in parallel universes where people in, and invested in, left politics government and media have one set of speech code books, and then the rest of us that have another.   And it seems that both groups continue to separate and divide.  That is not good at all.  We used to be able to talk.  Sticks and stones my musical brotha’ from another mutha’.

      1. Biddlin

        Frankly
        August 21, 2015 at 9:29 am
        You and I are the same on a regular basis Biddlin

        Biddlin

        August 22, 2015 at 7:57 am
        You are free to represent yourself as such and almost always do. I take exception to your libel. I don’t call you an misogynistic, racist fascist and expect the same indulgence.

         

         

        “Here is the problem with your point here.  We have tipped too far toward limiting speech.”

        Not me, I’m the guy cheering on the nut cases at speakers corner in Hyde Park. I’d love to get together at The Grad and have it out in person, chips fall where they may, but we don’t live in that 18th century world of honour and loyalty .

        ” David probably wrings his hands that too much partisan and directness turns off people from participating on his blog”

        You can always start your own, if it bothers you so much. Since joining this crew, I have seen you complain ad nauseam about the same things, but apparently you don’t go out and do anything about them

        I have complained and will continue to complain about the arbitrary enforcement of David’s rules, for instance,  about ad hominem attacks on other members and the multitude of major infractions that are allowed ,as long as they don’t upset David’s sensibilities, but as I often add, it’s his blog and he gets to make the rules. I think they should be enforced or abolished and not used as the Vanguard’s billy-club.

        “We seem to live in parallel universes”

        No, you just view it through very narrow lenses.

        ;>)/

         

         

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        Because there are many, many more that would participate if they did not fear being attacked for saying a WORD that has been put on the list”

        Now there is an irony for you. You do not seem to see their “fear” as a form of hypersensitivity. This is even what I would call “pre-hypersensitivity”. They are so fearful that something bad will happen to them, even if they post anonymously, that they will not post on the basis of their imagined response !  Talk about hypersensitive !

        1. Frankly

          Their fear is real because of real damage to them, their careers, their families done to them by others.  It happened to me.  While the other is the fear of getting feelings hurt.  Big, big difference.

  5. sisterhood

    “…those men have been out of prison for 15 to 20 years now and none of them has committed a new violent act.”

    I guess, as another reader likes to write, this fact “speaks volumes”.

    1. Miwok

      As I mentioned above, are their victims still alive/thriving?

      I have been robbed and as far as I know the thieves are still out there. I still live the fact they got away with it and made no restitution or apology for their act to me or any court. Getting caught was just a cost of doing business. If they were addicts or drunks, it was because they sold my things for their pleasure. If they are now sitting in a nice house, laughing at youthful indiscretions, how much of it was financed by people like me, or the waste they left behind?

      I fail to see how you justify that unless you profit from it.

      1. Davis Progressive

        one of the points made by death penalty opponents two years ago was how many unsolved cases we have and how many resources we put into incarceration that could/ should go to investigations and prevention.

        1. Miwok

          I quit arguing for the death penalty years ago, since the police and attorneys are killing people with circumstantial evidence. But if it is on video, then what?

          Europe does not seem to have a problem not killing prisoners, but are their prisons like the ones here? Are they corrupted by gangs and drugs?

      2. sisterhood

        I do get your frustration. My home in OR was robbed and I never felt comfortable there again. I felt very vulnerable, even after changing all the locks. My family member was wrongfully accused of a crime. We are irritated that the woman never apologized and did not have to reimburse us for the $250,000. in legal fees. And did not get charged with filing a false police report, because she is mentally ill and gets no treatment. She’s free to go to her job, and singles bars, and to sign up for internet dating sites, and free to falsely accuse another innocent.

        But you can’t wallow in that. It doesn’t help you in any way. Maybe those young men did make some kind of restitution to their victims? I really hope they did, because there will be no peace of mind for them, or their victims, if they don’t.

        1. Miwok

          Sisterhood,

          You tend to “wallow” like I do. I cannot go back to zero each time something happens, that teaches me a lesson to be more suspicious of people, trust less, and protect more. I am less generous with people, and less trusting.

          I guess society is more like this too, because we cannot trust even the law enforcement people to be honest. Integrity seems to be a lost commodity in today’s world. Things happen to bring up old thoughts, for better or worse, and while I disassociate myself from people like that, you seem to have to continue to put up with them.

          I hope the young criminals do all they can to correct their lives before it gets too late. Their conscience will haunt them, I hope until they change.

  6. Davis Progressive

    frankly: ” I appreciate the fact that he is saying many things that need to be said. ”

    what trump said on immigration: “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    typical reaction: trump is anti-immigrant and believes that all immigrants are rapists.  the conversation did not turn into a discussion of the merits of his comments.  it turned into an attack on the messenger.  so when frankly says, he is saying many things that need to be said – even if we agreed – trump is stepping on the message.

    also because his message was so bombastic it led media sources to attempt to fact-check his comments.  while it is easy to point to the murder in san francisco, the data is more circumspect on the issue.  data from the us sentencing commission which suggests that a disproportionate proportion of federal criminal offenders are undocumented.  if that’s the case, the numbers are small.  for instance, using 2009 data, “DHS states that it has identified 221,000 non-citizens in the nation’s jails. This equals 11 to 15 percent of the jail population. Non-citizens comprise only 8.6 percent of the nation’s total adult population.”  that’s not hugely disproportionate to begin with.  but another problem is that most of the people in custody are therefore because of immigration violations, not other crimes.

    did anything come of trump’s comments?  i don’t think so.  he would be better off laying out the issue and pointing to problems in the immigration system.  people may still differ on the resolution but at least he won’t be generating more heat than light.

    1. Frankly

      Wow! What mental gymnastics.  I appreciate this post because it demonstrates the significant unlikeliness that we will ever agree on these substantive issues.  In your mind the climate for speech is healthy and/or what it is.  I guess that is your assessment of unchangeable human nature.  And so Trump isn’t effective because he does not work within that box.

      But that isn’t the view of at least 50% of Americans.  Their view is that the climate for speech is corrupted and unhealthy and needs to change.  So from their perspective Trump IS working within the box as it should be… the say what you mean and mean what you say box.  Instead of the say what you are supposed to say and do whatever you can get away with box.  I find it amazing that you and other smart people value the latter more than the former.

  7. Michelle Millet

    Bless your heart Frankly. It seems like you are getting a little worked up.  I know how sensitive you can be about this topic.  I don’t like seeing you upset yourself, its not good for. Maybe you should take a warm bath in order to calm down.

    I love how people call other people sensitive in attempt to dismiss their own or others bad behavior. It’s brilliant really, a complete win-win. It’s sets up a situation for someone to say whatever racist, sexist, derogatory thing they want, or otherwise act like a complete jerk. If anyone calls them on it they are immediately labeled as “sensitive” or  “high-maintance” in a condescending way and dismissed, like they are ones causing the problem, rather then reacting to the person who is.

      1. Michelle Millet

         love it michelle.  he acts rudes, but it’s our fault for being overly sensitive.

        Welcome to my world;-). (and I’m not just talking about my interactions with Frankly).

    1. Frankly

      There is a line Michele.  Some of us just set the line to a measure of accepted sensitivity that is not hypersensitivity.   Because if the line is hypersensitivity, we just won’t talk to those who are hypersensitive.  And that is what has happened… except for me and my stupidity and a few other brave souls on the VG.

      DP is every bit as rude in his characterization and dismissiveness of people he disagrees with, but since he sits on the victim advocate side, he gets a pass, right?

      And apparently for liberals, saying hurtful words is a bigger crime than being dishonest.  I find that fascinating too.

      1. Michelle Millet

        I get your point, and I agree with it. Here is some advice,  if you want to further this conversation in a way that is productive, find someone besides Donald Trump to champion your cause.

        1. Frankly

          There is a popular tweet circulating these days that says, “Donald Trump is like if a comments section ran for office.”

          Not the Huffington Post comment section…

        2. Jim Frame

           if you want to further this conversation in a way that is productive, find someone besides Donald Trump to champion your cause.

           

          No, don’t say that!  I want Trump to either get the GOP nomination or run as an independent; either would serve my purposes well.

        3. Barack Palin

          No, don’t say that!  I want Trump to either get the GOP nomination or run as an independent; either would serve my purposes well.

          Do your purposes involve Hillary?

        4. Barack Palin

          Not much of a choice, is it?  Trump or Hillary, but like you say if it comes to that.

          Given the two I’ll have to hold my nose and vote for Trump.

  8. Dave Hart

    Why the need to pejoratively label people – as thugs?

    David, I guess you meant to ask this question rhetorically, but if not, I feel the need to answer it because it gets at the heart of vituperation.  The point is to discredit not the person so much as the ideas that the target represents or supports.  Where you cannot win an argument based on a discussion of the content or merits, you can win on the basis of emotional damage.

    Kory Stamper, lexicographer at Merriam Webster sheds light on origins and the use of the word over the last 200 years, most notably discussing its use around the union movement and how it was used by both sides during the early days of the labor movement.  So it’s no surprise that it has a resurgence when people are emotionally attached to their point of view and are not able to articulate the shades of gray and nuance of their complaints.

    There are actual thugs out there of all sorts.  Carjackers and muggers are thugs, no question.  Very good arguments exist for identifying highly placed national leaders in Europe, for example, who maneuver policies at the highest level for the sole purpose of protecting their personal interests and the interests of their backers that literally steal money out of the mouths of innocent bystanders as we see in the case of the brutal punishment meted out to the Greek citizens by the Euro Group.

    So, while I agree a person can be correctly labelled a “thug” based on their actions regardless of social class or standing, the use of the term to describe the union Unite/HERE is obviously off kilter and done for the sole purpose of winning an emotional argument were no factual basis exists.

          1. Don Shor

            I do not believe you could prove that assertion. Read the history of what businesses, often hand in hand with local law enforcement, have done to unions over the years. I know you hate labor unions to an irrational and very emotional degree. But the notion that what businesses have done to unions in our history is “a pittance” is not what the historical record shows. There’s plenty of blood and blame on both sides in the violent history of labor relations in the U.S.

        1. Frankly

          According to a 1969 study, no major labor organization in American history has ever advocated violence as a policy.

          How convenient.

          Hey thuggish boys… you won’t find it in the policy manual, but go break some knees of the scabs trying to cross the line and “steal” your jobs.

          1. Don Shor

            Hey thuggish corporate owners, it isn’t our business policy but let’s see if we can get the sheriff to break a few heads, arrest people, beat some people up. Oh, and let’s fire everyone who tried to unionize while we’re at it.
            Give me a break. Your view on this issue is pathetically biased. I don’t even like labor unions particularly, but I can see you are disregarding a long and sordid history of union-busting behavior.

        2. Frankly

          I know you hate labor unions to an irrational and very emotional degree.

          Nothing at all emotional about it.  I KNOW EXACTLY what the costs and benefits are from a macro economic perspective, and it is highly negative.

          With 35 years of experience hiring, developing, promoting and firing people working for a living in non-unionized private industry, it is absolutely factually clear that unionized labor sub-optimizes the macro benefits in the job market.  There once was a need for unions before our labor laws advanced to sufficiently cover worker rights.  Today unions are not needed at all.   They are simply legalized monopolies run like cartels… that only serve to increase the pay and benefits of their members at cost to everyone else.

          What I find fascinating is that smart people continue to support them… and tellingly it is left-leaning people that support them.  It is really, really laughable seeing those left-leaning smart people lament the loss of their treasured social programs as governments at all levels run out of other people’s money due to that union-Democrat connection where those unions members continue to be grossly over-paid.  The politics of the left runs thicker than common sense apparently.

  9. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Demands to punish certain people with more rules and restrictions and tax increases”

    Perhaps you did not understand my question. I asked for a list of “demands” that I had made. Suggestions for how I believe we should pay for the services and benefits that we want are just that, my suggestions and are not any more “demands” than when you suggest alternatives for revenue flow.

    As for rules and restrictions, again, please list what “demands” you believe that I have made in these areas. I doubt that you can actually name any. If anything, my suggestions tend to be for less regulations and rules. A few examples. I would recommend decriminalizing drugs. I would decriminalize the prescription of life ending drugs for those meeting the strict criteria of the proposed law. I would recommend that highly effective contraceptives be available over the counter in the case of birth control pills. I would recommend that teems of all ages be able to obtain effective birth control without parental consent.

    I patiently await examples of what “demands” you believe that I have made.

    1. Frankly

      Really?  You are going to stand on that soapbox?  You demand that those that can afford it pay higher taxes… basically punishing success… in order to fund your idea of a utopian Davis.  You demand that government implement more rules and taxes to punish people that drive cars.  You deman that the government put drugs in our water supply… punishing the people that don’t to ingest the drugs by making them buy and haul non-drugged water.

      1. Don Shor

        I have never seen Tia demand anything. I have seen her advocate positions and policies, to be enacted by democratic votes or by votes of our elected representatives. I have seen you do the same. You use the word ‘demand’ very inaccurately most of the time.

        1. Frankly

          Oh so this is where we are… Let’s Play Dictionary!

          Demand, advocate, recommend, support, agitate, propose… She has done it all.

          When people do this type of thing… argue the meaning of a single word within a point without actually arguing the point… it is clear that they are deflecting from having to accept the point.

          1. Don Shor

            No, Frankly. It means exactly what it means. When people advocate for their views, and hope to have them prevail in a democratic society, that is not a demand. You are misusing the word, and you are doing it to make her look like a lesser person. You are demeaning her positions by your use of the word. I am not deflecting. But that is another of your usual rhetorical tactics.
            Don’t you ever get tired of demeaning people and groups and pretty much everyone who doesn’t share your views? YOU used the word “demand” repeatedly. Tia doesn’t demand anything.

        2. Frankly

          Do you ever get tired of being so damn hypersensitive and emotional that you cannot debate the topic and degrade to personal attacks?  This personal attack is that I am “demeaning people”.

          Tia has consistently responded to every one of my DEMANDS that we grow the economy to a reasonable level so that we have enough tax revenue to meet our needs to say that we should just increase taxes on “people that can afford it”.

          She has consistently responded to every on of my DEMANDS that we grow peripherally that we should get denser because people do not need so many material things and we don’t need cars.

          And then she very much DEMANDED that the proposed Trackside development be significantly reduced in size and scope even though it met the previous.

          Really Don… you are going to degrade to making this all about the word DEMAND?

          Is that what liberals do… they take a position in a wishy-washy way only so they can claim they never take a position?  It is risk aversion?  Is it fear of every having to admit you are wrong about something?

          Whatever it is… it is not impressive at all.

          I would suggest that we all learn to take a position and own that position and make DEMANDS that we believe are right.  If you cannot stand on your own convictions, then you really should not be so consistently and strongly making the same case over and over and over and over again.

          1. Don Shor

            Is that what liberals do

            I don’t know. Maybe you should ask one.
            Language matters. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t use extreme language so often in your posts. I would remind you that the topic of this thread is “Can We Elevate Our Level of Discourse by Cleaning Up Our Verbiage?”
            Evidently the answer is, in your case, no. Evidently the answer is, in your case, to just fall back on your tired repetition that anybody who considers language important, that words have intent and meaning, is being “damn hypersensitive.”
            If you take over Mrak Hall and refuse to leave until the chancellor meets with you, that is a ‘demand’. What you and Tia are doing is participating in democracy.

        3. Frankly

          So I say “demand” and you go off on me for that word and say that I am “demeaning people” and I am the one that is ignoring the “Can We Elevate Our Level of Discourse by Cleaning Up Our Verbiage?” recommendation.

          Right.  I get it.

          Thanks for helping me demonstrate the problem with hypersensitivity.  One word take you off the rails.  And it isn’t even one where you can accurately claim a definitive justification for taking you off the rails.  It just caused you an emotional response and you ran with it going on the attack.

  10. Anon

    Anon: “I find professionalism far more convincing, as I think most people do.”

    Frankly: “Judging by the popularity of Trump, I think you might be wrong about this.

    Representative governance is by the people for the people.  I think a lot of people are tired of the professional politicians that whitewashes his/her speech and tiptoes around the issues so as to not offend anyone of the many protected victim class groups.”

    “Popularity” of Trump?  You mean the “rent-a-crowds” he buys?  If you think polls necessarily show how voters feel, I point you to all the incorrect polls in the past that have not gotten it right.  Nor would I necessarily attribute Trump’s “popularity” as affirmation of his policy proposals.  It might be more a reflection of his entertainment value for making outrageous statements.

    I don’t think any political analyst of any credibility considers Trump a serious contender.  As you listen to him talk, it is clear his understanding of complex issues like immigration is very shallow.  For instance, as he labels illegal immigrants “rapists and murderers”, and advocates they all be sent back to their home country, he completely ignores the reality that almost all our produce is picked by those same illegal immigrants, keeping the costs of our groceries down.  Other GOP strategists and politicians better understand this, and advocate for a guest worker program for good reason.

    Are there rapists and murderers coming across the border? Yes? Do they represent the majority, or even a significant minority of those coming across the border? I would argue “NO”. Do we need more border security to keep rapists and murderers and drug dealers out? YES

    Trump reminds me of the Shakespearean quote in MacBeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    1. Frankly

      It might be more a reflection of his entertainment value for making outrageous statements.

      I agree that it is some of this.  Same with Bernie Sanders.

      Let me ask you a question… do you have friends and relatives that live in other parts of the country that tend to vote Republican?  If you do, do you talk to those people to understand what they are thinking about politics these days?

      For every idiotic thing Trump says he also says things that resonate with many voters.   It is like they have been crawling through the desert without water and Trump is a bit of an oasis.   Not a pretty oasis, but one that at least partially quenches their thirst.

      Did you read any blogs over the Megyn Kelly vs. Trump spat?   I was really surprised how many posters turned on Kelly.

      I see Trump as an egomaniac and blow-hard, but he also speaks directly about many issues that many Americans care deeply about.  I think you are very wrong to discount this.  Just like anyone would be wrong to discount the popularity of Bernie Sanders.

      1. Anon

        Let me ask you a question… do you have friends and relatives that live in other parts of the country that tend to vote Republican?  If you do, do you talk to those people to understand what they are thinking about politics these days?

        Yes I have friends and relatives that live in other parts of the country that tend to vote Republican.  In general they believe the White House needs a fiscal conservative to improve the economy.  One favors Rand Paul; another favors Mark Rubio; another favors Scott Walker – thus far.  To a man they cannot stand Trump, and believe Trump is doing major damage to the GOP.

    2. Don Shor

      If you think polls necessarily show how voters feel, I point you to all the incorrect polls in the past that have not gotten it right.

      Just ask Presidents Bachmann and Cain.

  11. Anon

    Frankly: “Did you read any blogs over the Megyn Kelly vs. Trump spat?   I was really surprised how many posters turned on Kelly.

    What Trump said about Kelly was something an immature and disrespectful 13 year old would mouth – it was childish, unprofessional, misogynistic and rude.  Blogs are haunted by trolls, and can be bought and paid for by anyone.  My guess is the comments against Kelly were paid for by Trump.

    Frankly: “I see Trump as an egomaniac and blow-hard, but he also speaks directly about many issues that many Americans care deeply about.

    I don’t think much of what Trump says resonates with as many as you seem to think.  Republicans are afraid to speak out against Trump for fear he will run as an independent and split the Republican vote.  This is all a game to Trump, who is looking for attention and buying his way into the limelight.  Finally Jeb Bush is taking on Trump.  Trump should have been shut out of the GOP long ago – he is damaging the party with his nonsense.  JMO

  12. Tia Will

    Miwok

    Apparently you were raised differently, and respect dishonest people who steal, lie, and don’t respect others? You can’t convince me that those actions are “cultural” and need to be respected?”

    And did your exemplary upbringing include attacking others and disparaging the way in which they were raised based on your twisted version of what they must believe  rather than any knowledge of their life or upbringing ?  When have I ever suggested that those actions are “cultural”. When have I ever stated that I respect the actions of those who steal and lie and don’t respect others.  But then I guess that is also subjective since you certainly have shown me no respect with your comment which does not reflect anything that I have ever posted.

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