Sunday, August 24, 2008

Turning Point 6

Consider this particular post to be like an appendix at the back of the book. It’s purpose is to document exactly what was said, so that those readers who want to, can journey through all the verbiage and decide the merits for themselves.

We start with the big ambush:

Wasn't it also Jack who suggested here that {edit}* might be a terrorist just because he changed his federation to Palestine?

Then when a few of us called attention to that offensive post and it was duly pulled, Jack acted all, "Who me? I wasn't casting any aspersions, all I did was ask a question."

My recollection is that was Jack (but I didn't save the posts and since they were pulled, I can't be sure). If so, his protestations now about being sanctioned for making good-faith, non-insulting, fact-based posts, should be taken with several bricks of salt.

I edited out the name. Like I said in the original post of the series, it is unfair to the person named. He didn’t ask to be dragged into this controversy; he was just selected to be the victim. A second reason, of course, is that I had never used the name myself – at all. I had never accused the individual of anything.

Now, my response:

Johhnybear, I must REALLY take exception to your statement. I NEVER stated, implied, or inferred that the person was a terrorist. There was never anything I ever wrote that ever had anything to do with that.

Your statement is a flat out {edit}. See revised comment below. I demand a retraction.

I recall the issue and I recall how people began sticking words in my mouth. And I remember protesting at the time.

For new people who never saw the thread in question, the issue was about chessplayers flying flags of convenience and the USCF representing them. What some said, following Sam Sloan's lead on this, was that since the individual had chosen the Palestinian State as his particular FIDE Federation, any criticism of Sam Sloan's proposal was tantamount to calling the individual a terrorist. (Sloan's proposal was that since the Palestinian Chess Federation was unable to effectively represent him and since the person resided in Connecticut and had no visible ties to that country, the USCF should pick up the slack and represent his interests to the FIDE.)

What particularly outrages me about the attack on me, was that I had stated at the time was that the proposal had merit, but on balance we ought to not encourage chess players to do this sort of thing.

It amazes me that after all that went down, this terrorism smear stuck with some people like Johnny.

This last exchange reminds me of why, despite all the hue and cry, I still support Paul and Susan. Like the McCarthy Era in the 1950's, this shows how mud gets hurled and people will believe it no matter how innocent the person may be.

P.S. I did ask why, of all the nations in the world that a person living in Connecticutt could have chosen to represent, the choice was the Palistinians. And yes, I did note the terrorist history of Yasser Arafat, then the leader of that country, and yes, I did state that was also of concern. Was the choice a political one or not and was the USCF being sucked into a political agenda? If not, then fine. There's lots of other considerations that a person can make other than making a political statement. I thought then and still think that if the USCF must expend resources and time on this, then it has a right to know.

Even after taking the worst possible interpretation on this, there remains a vast difference between calling - or even implying - that a person is a terrorist and raising questions of (1) encouraging/enabling US players to play for foreign countries with USCF still being responsible for them and (2) encouraging/enabling US players to use this kind of practice to make political statements that the USCF could be tied to.

- - - - -

Revised comment: my attention has been brought to the following passage of the AUG:

Do not accuse anyone of lying, telling a lie, or being a liar. This is considered a personal attack, even if true. Do not speculate regarding the motives of others. You can get the point across just as well by saying the person you think is lying is wrong, mistaken, incorrect, careless with facts, etc.

My revised sentence should therefore read: The statement is a flat out wrong, mistaken, incorrect, careless with facts, etc.

Best regards, Jack

And then:

Johnny, this was a low blow. That the forum police went along with it at the time, discredits the whole premise of this thread. Nothing this egregious would ever happen at Chess Discussion Forum.

Like I said. Big mistake. There’s just no arguing with these people.

Your post back then, as I recall, made specific reference to Hamas.

Aside from omitting that, the brief "P.S." in your comment above states all the pertinent facts about your post from last year that I just brought up. And it seems to confirm everything I just said about that earlier post. So I don't see how you can say what I said was a "lie."

Had your earlier post simply argued that the USCF shouldn't go to bat on chess matters for American players who choose to change their FIDE affiliation to a foreign federation, that would have been a perfectly acceptable thing to say, and obviously the post woud not have been pulled or even criticized.

But, as I said then, your throwing in a politically laced commentary about the specific federation the guy chose, was/is offensive to the point that it borders on racism (given the likelihood that the player in question was motivated by his own ethnic heritage. He changed his name around the same time he changed his federation. Whether his motivation might have been political as well as cultural/ethnic identification is none of our business.)

There follows some snarky comments none of which were critical of the attacker, just of me.

I direct the reader’s attention to the above statement: “. . . the brief "P.S." in your comment above states all the pertinent facts about your post from last year that I just brought up.” Significant. So, from that we get racism?

Turning point: If people are willing to go over the top with such thin soup as the above, then do they behave any differently towards Paul Truong?

See the original post below.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Turning Point 5

About my comment about irrational people in a previous post: this was not a crack.

The whole racism and terrorism sliming came in a USCF Forum thread titled, “Chess Discussion Forum Is Heavily Censored.” - Meaning Susan’s forum, of course.

To show just how irrational the attackers are, they brought this up to DEFEND the USCF Moderator’s decision to censor the discussion of the USCF foreign policy they referred to.

So, they OPPOSE and they FAVOR censorship in the forums! Both at the same time! Kind of. Sort of. Maybe.

Go figure. Better yet, don’t waste your time trying.

Turning point: Don’t look for principles in these attacks on Paul and Susan. There aren’t any. They favor/oppose issues depending on whose ox gets gored.

See the original post below.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Turning Point 4

So where did all this terrorism and racism mud-slinging start? Last year, I attempted to direct peoples’ attention to the serious problems that the USCF will face globally in the 21st. century. Look for it here.

My main point was that we ought to get ahead of the curve and not just wait upon events. Otherwise, waiting for an event to happen will cause discussions to get sidetracked by whether one is for or against some individual rather than focusing on the issue involved.

This is exactly what happened this week: someone used the name of a particular chess master to manufacture a victim to that he could then fabricate a story that I was attacking him – the “victim” that is.

So, what was it really about? Issues that USCF ought to be working on: Should the USCF . . .
1) . . . encourage chess players to switch affiliations to foreign chess federations? – The “flag of convenience” issue.
2) . . . stand in the place of foreign chess federations and represent chess players who work and live in the US? - On the grounds that they are de-facto US chess players, anyway?
3) . . . Represent players who may have switched allegiances for political reasons? – Risk getting caught up in politics, inadvertently?

These are issues that honest people can have honest disagreements. But in the nasty world of USCF politics, these discussion points becomes mere opportunities to call people “terrorists” and “racists”.

Turning point: If people sling mud like this over topics as benign as the above, then what are they likely to sling against people like Susan and Paul?

See the original post below.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Turning Point 3

Another problem that we face is that you just cannot argue with irrational people. We got a preview last year with the anti-PT people bringing up Paul’s tournament record in Vietnam 30 years ago. He didn’t; they did. Paul kept saying that this had nothing to do with his election campaign; yet, they just kept baiting him about it, anyway.

That was just a preview of things to come. I said in my opening post on this topic that I made the mistake of trying to answer this stuff about terrorism, etc. There were no rational responses; they just followed up with more mud slinging.

The lesson here, is that when it comes to USCF politics, you just don’t feed the predators.

Turning point: Unlike so many of the attacks on Susan and Paul, you just got to know that there’s something wrong with attacks connecting people with terrorism and racism.

See the original post to this series below.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Turning Point 2

Is Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Forum heavily censored? There’s a lot of stuff being said about how it is. Yaada, yaada, yaada.

The truth is that we try to keep things as open as possible. Anything goes – almost. Susan just wants people to be civil.

There’s one thing that’s just common sense. For Paul and Susan, USCF politics have advanced W-A-A-Y beyond just getting a debate fix. Lawsuits have been filed; DA’s have been called; employer’s and sponsors contacted with damaging attacks. In this kind of climate, Paul and Susan don’t want to be baited.

The basic problem is that Susan and Paul has become a magnet for the worst kinds of attacks. As I showed above, this has become the common view of those people. And reasoned discussion just does not work with them. They just keep attacking and attacking.

Turning point: Just look at how those people handle wild accusations of terrorism and racism!

See the original post to this series below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turning Point

Racism! Terrorism! Evil does not get much worse than this. But over at the USCF, this kind to name-calling has become just another item in the chess-politician’s bag of tricks. But for those with a larger view, a turning point has been reached. People can now see USCF politics for themselves: Racism! Terrorism! Evil does not get much worse than this.

Before now, USCF politics vs. Paul Truong, has been a confusing story of internet hacking, legalisms, conflicting experts, and lawsuits. This month, two events threw spotlights on the stage. They enabled a confused audience to see the context, the larger action of the story.

First, the big meeting in Texas. The USCF’s lawyer saved Paul Truong from removal. With all the behind the scenes machinations, Susan and Paul could not have won by themselves. The EB Majority’s strategy was to remove Paul on narrow grounds; their lawyer stepped all over this strategy and gave a broad-grounds argumentation. He further confused an already confused Board of Delegates. When all the dust settled, even Bill Goichberg decried the lawyer’s performance.

So, how reliable is this expert’s judgment? Shouldn’t a seasoned litigator have been able to size up a situation better than this guy did? How reliable are the other experts this guy hired on behalf of the USCF?

No definite conclusion is warranted because of this but, because of this, blind faith is no longer warranted, either. A turning point.

Second, the racism and terrorism talk. This popped up on a USCF Forum thread called, “Chess Discussion Forum Is Heavily Censored”. Interesting title, that. When I disagreed with the premise of this thread, that’s when the racism and terrorism stuff came up. This is how they argue over there.

I made the mistake of answering back. Guess what? The Moderator got on ME! Their rules prohibit labeling statements as “lies”. Oh, well.

What is striking, is how these kinds of smears are just taken as a matter of course. Everyone wants to mount the bandwagon and run the victim over. This, too, is revealing about the basic nature of USCF politics.

On the surface, this is a tempest in a teapot. I’ve got hurt feelings but I’ll get over them. What is significant is the brutal nature of the attacks. Terrorism! Racism! Evil does not get much worse than this. If this kind of piling on can happen to a nobody like me, then what lies behind the campaign against Paul and Susan?

Conclusion. In World War II, Stalingrad and El Alamein were turning points. One destroyed a major German army in Russia; the other shattered Rommel’s Panzerarmee Africa. As the Allies advanced, there was still a long war ahead of them. D-Day and Berlin lurked years in the future. The events of 1942 were turning points, not ending points.

Thus here. In the campaign to destroy Paul and Susan, the events of August 2008 are turning points. Accusations of internet hacking may be confusing; terrorism and racism are not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Susan Polgar at the Olympics

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Just messing with your minds here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Paul and Susan Disco

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Just messing with your minds, folks!