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About NestorMakhnosLovechild

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    You Should Watch What You Say To People

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    Well, in all fairness, it's possible to be both wary and weary of someone. Given how long this campaign season has actually lasted, I'm pretty weary of not only both candidates, but of political coverage in general.

    Well, I think I've stated my position pretty clearly, but I'll quote from myself below.

    Highly disputed, at the moment!

    I think there's a confusion of ideas going on here related to the ambiguity of the phrase "mock a disabled person." There's no doubt that Trump was mocking a disabled person. The question is whether Trump was mocking the DISABILITY of the disabled person. Disabled people should, I think, be subject to mockery on the same terms as non-disabled people. What should be off bounds, I think, is mocking their disability itself. The question is whether Trump was doing that. The issue is whether Trump was mocking his disability, and from the evidence provided, I think the answer is more likely than not that he was not.

    @TrackerNeil Both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine have done unflattering impersonations (aka: "mockery") of Trump. Somehow I doubt that you consider this to be a serious or disqualifying character flaw...

    It saddens me that you have such a low opinion of our fellow boarders! I came in here with complete confidence, sadly now shaken just a bit, that the other boarders would not, for even one second, make the mistake of conflating the messenger with the message. I maintained the utmost confidence in their ability to separate the quality of the argument - I think quite strong - from the qualities of the arguer (quite terrible - Ann Coulter that is, not me. I assume that everyone recognizes that I, in Socratic terms, am made of gold.)

    For what it's worth, I specifically addressed the media's deliberate usage of still photos, rather than actual videos of Kovaleski, in order to foster the impression that Trump's flailing looked anything like Kovaleski's non-spastic movements. It's addressed specifically as well BOTH in the Coulter article and in the Catholics 4 Trump article, at much greater length and in much greater detail. This is actually a pretty good example of how pictures can be used to represent an untruth. Trump was flopping his hands around during his entire impression. Kovaleski's hand doesn't flop and his movements are not spastic or "flailing." The media took one second of video in which Trump's hand was flopped in a way that resembled Kovaleski's and, by immortalizing it as a picture, deliberately gives the impression that this was representative of the impression. It wasn't. **Edited also to add: I'm not "defending" his impression. I'm not sure there's really anything to defend. I'm interested in honestly characterizing it.

    Again, this is question-begging, in that your example presupposes the conclusion. It might be the case that Trump's impression of someone who is flustered bears an uncomfortable resemblance to making fun of someone with a spastic condition. We're dealing with what is clearly a set of ambiguous physical displays. As an expression of being flustered, all Trump's doing is presenting a visual, physical manifestation of what it means to be flustered - ie: a physical manifestation of someone flailing around for a response. That's a pretty common understanding of how people visualize and physically dramatize emotional states. But of course, there's a huge difference between engaging in the intentional and deliberate mockery of someone's physical disability with engaging in a pantomine that inadvertently bears a resemblance to the former. The former is a pretty egregious faux pas, the latter much less so.

    If you start with the premise here, as you are doing, that Trump was "clearly mocking" the reporter's disability, and then look at the evidence that he was not as some kind of devious attempt to justify his behavior after the fact, then you're just begging the question. You're merely interpreting all of the evidence in light of the conclusion that you've already reached. In light of the evidence that's actually being presented, it's far, far from "clear" that Trump was actually mocking the reporter's disability, as his impression could also quite plausibly be that of a person who is flustered by an unexpected question that they cannot easily answer - which is consistent with all three of his imitations.

    Well, I don't actually disagree with this. I have stated my position pretty explicitly - this doesn't impact my decision to vote for Hillary and vehemently oppose Trump. But what I find suspect is people who use this rationale to deflect away from examining the actual issue. It matters, and it's important to know, whether the accusations that have been leveled against Trump by the media are actually true or if they are not true. It's important because it's important to have accurate and true information being promulgated by our candidates for president. It's important because it's important to understand whether the "mainstream" media is accurately and fairly representing information about our candidates for president. If Trump is being accused unfairly, the record should be corrected to incorporate all of the exculpatory evidence, and if the media is not providing that exculpatory evidence, it's not doing its job and deserves to be called out and criticized. I'm concerned that some, like Tywin, consider my entire line of argument as suspect from the word go because it's perceived as a bad-faith "defense" of Trump. This suggests to me, problematically, that there's such a level of group-think about these issues that these conversations are more about signaling to other in-group members about where you stand than, you know, an attempt to get at the truth of things. And I find that to be a terribly dangerous thing.

    The two posts that you quoted are not contradictory at all. Here are two statements that can both be true at the same time (in fact, I think they are): 1. If Donald Trump actually made fun of Serge Kovaleski's disability, Ann Coulter would not have cared. 2. Donald Trump did not actually make fun of Serge Kovaleski's disability. Quote 1 + Quote 2. They aren't contradictory.

    I sometimes get a little tired of the game of taking an entire post where an argument is being laid out, and then cherry-picking a single piece of that argument and then pretending as if somehow coming to a different conclusion on that one piece of the evidence is definitive proof that the entire argument is wrong. I can only lay out the chain of inference as simply and succinctly as possible: - The fact that Donald Trump imitated two non-disabled people in the same or similar way makes it less likely that he was specifically referencing the disability of the third person when he did his imitation. - All three of the imitations took place within the context of the imitated parties being asked questions to which they did not have ready or easy answers (at least as alleged by Trump), making them flustered. - The fact that the imitation Trump did actually does not bear a meaningful resemblance to the physical disability of the person being imitated also makes it less likely that he was referencing their disability. When you take these pieces of data and read them all together, I think it strongly suggests that Trump was not referencing the reporter's disability in his imitation of the reporter being flustered in response to hypothetical questions he was being posed.

    The fact that Ann Coulter thinks it's acceptable to mock people with disabilities has absolutely nothing at all to do with whether Donald Trump was actually making fun of the disabilities of the reporter is was making fun of. I'm absolutely baffled at why you would think otherwise. It's clear to me that if Donald Trump WAS making fun of his disabilities, that Ann Coulter probably would not have had an issue with it. But the question is not whether Ann Coulter would have been okay with that - the question is whether Trump actually did was he was accused of doing. And I think that all of the evidence, in context, which includes not just the video of the General (which, by the way, I disagree was "very different" than the way he spoke about the reporter - certainly much shorter), and Ted Cruz (which is virtually the same as to how he imitated the reporter), and the fact that the reporter's disability does not actually involve spastic movements, suggests that he was not. I make this determination by a "preponderance of the evidence" standard, based just on which I think is more likely. Based on all of the evidence, I think it's more likely than not he wasn't taking a shot at the reporter's physical disability. I don't think you can conclusively rule it out, but if I had to give odds, I'm convinced 60/40 against it.

    To be clear, I'm not defending Donald Trump. I agree that imitating a "standard retard" - as Coulter said in his defense, although not this most recent column - is not a good defense at all (to put it mildly, as her own characterization is pretty offensive), nor true (I'm not really convinced that was Trump's intent to put out a portrayal that mocked people with disabilities when he made fun of Cruz, the General or the reporter. As an exaggerated caricature of someone flustered, it works, kind of). I also don't think this is any kind of meaningful rehabilitation of Trump as a candidate. I'm already on record here as stating that I am voting, unequivocally, for Clinton, and that I think Trump is a uniquely dangerous candidate. That he apparently did not actually mock a reporter's disabilities is kind of something I just assume any candidate I would vote for would not have done. So this is not actually a plus mark in his column or me. But the story here, I think, is that the media reported on this story in an incredibly disingenuous (at worst) and sloppy (at best) fashion, and for that, I think there deserves to be meaningful inquiry and criticism.

    So, color me surprised that I'd ever be saying this, but I happened to read Ann Coulter's most recent column about how Donald Trump did not actually make fun of reporter Serge Kovaleski's disability when he did his weird arm-flaily thing, and after I went and read the "debunking" of this story by Catholics 4 Trump ... I actually think she's correct, and convincingly so. The Catholics 4 Trump link is better than Coulter's, in that it provides embedded video to back up the claims, but the crux of the argument is that we have video of Trump making fun of Tred Cruz and a military General in the exact same way, with the same arm-flailing motion, and this just appears to be how Trump was making fun of people being flustered by having to answer a question they didn't like or anticipate. An additional part of her thesis is that the media put this story forward knowing that it wasn't true, based on some other evidence including the fact that Trump made fun of the General in basically the exact same way in the same speech he made fun of Kovaleski, and nobody bothered to report it. And on top of that, the media's use of still-photos of Trump and Kovaleski to create a comparison deliberately fostered the impression that Kovaleski experiences spastic movements (what Trump appeared to be mocking) when in fact he does not. Coulter also makes the claim, unverified of course, that an otherwise respectful comment made to a Washington Post story debunking their claim by linking to the Catholics 4 Trump site was deleted. As to that - who knows? But I actually find the other arguments to be fairly compelling.