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.