The Morning Jolt


Joy Reid: Bush Permitted ‘the Breaching of Our Borders’ to ‘Feed Slave Labor to Multinationals’

Joy Reid (Wikimedia Commons)

I hadn’t planned on writing about Joy Reid two days in a row, but . . . holy moly.

This morning I found another Reid blog post from 2006 that denounces illegal immigration and insecure borders.

I know it sounds like Moonbatty fanaticism, but if you believe that your government would lie, cheat and attempt to destroy people in order to start a war that doesn’t even make strategic sense, but which they had to know would result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people . . . if you believe that men who are supposed to be working for us, are working so much against us that they would give away American industry to foreign powers, permit the breaching of our borders in order to feed slave labor to multinationals, that they would strip Americans of the most basic civil rights, and make about 40 percent of us like it (or be too afraid not to) — if they would do all that, including to, at this point, more than 1 million U.S. soldiers who have rotated in and out of Iraq . . . what do you believe they wouldn’t do?

Does Reid still think the U.S. government permits an insecure border to ensure a steady supply of slave labor? If not, what changed her mind?

Or is this more nefarious work of that alleged “hacker”? Wait, wait, let me guess; the hacker inserted some parts of that sentence but not the other parts!

Beyond the astonishing 180-degree reversal on immigration, it’s now clear that not that long ago, Joy Reid was a left-wing online troll, either creating or sharing the sort of tasteless edited photos found in the comments sections of the more unsavory corners of the Internet: “MSNBC personality Joy Reid once published a Photoshopped image of Senator John McCain’s (R., Ariz.) head over the body of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho on her now-defunct blog, Buzzfeed News reported Thursday.”

This is a particularly awkward time for the rest of the mainstream media to learn that an MSNBC host compared McCain to a notorious school shooter; as McCain fights cancer, the New York Times’ Frank Bruni wrote an extensive tribute to his life of “sacrifice, honor and allegiance to something larger than oneself.” (Perhaps Reid’s crude attack is particularly cringe-inducing for Democrats, as it reminds them that in 2007 and 2008, quite a of them openly loathed McCain with a raging passion, an enmity entirely disproportionate to the circumstances of routine political disagreement.)

Elsewhere, Reid called Wolf Blitzer an “AIPAC flak.” (That’s the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Blitzer is Jewish.)

It’s not just that no right-of-center personality would get a pass for such a tasteless and exploitative tone in past writings and comments the way Reid has. It’s that no right-of-center or even centrist television network would be able to batten down the hatches and just wait out the storm and refuse to comment for day after day the way MSNBC is currently.

Good for CNN’s Brooke Baldwin for calling out the epic double standard seen in the reactions to Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee. A lot of figures on the Right complain that figures in the mainstream media like CNN “never” objects to incendiary rhetoric on the left or beyond-the-pale criticisms of Republicans, and that’s not quite true.

It’s fairer to say that mainstream media figures rarely object to incendiary rhetoric on the left, and when they do, the consequences are marginal. It wasn’t hard to find mainstream journalists who publicly criticized Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But if that criticism had a consequence at all, it probably helped Wolf’s career; the controversy probably helped publicize her new Netflix show.

Bill Maher uses the C-word to describe Sarah Palin. Stephen Colbert suggests President Trump is sexually gratifying Vladimir Putin. Jimmy Kimmel mocks Melania Trump’s accent. John Oliver suggests the president and Rudy Giuliani both want to have sex with with Ivanka Trump. None of these comments generate anything resembling a serious headache or a career setback for any of these comedians.

Meanwhile, Roseanne Barr’s godawful tweet about Valerie Jarrett triggers the career death penalty.

Welcome to Life with Unemployment at 3.8 Percent, America!

No wonder the president tweeted some optimism about the jobs numbers shortly before the new jobs numbers were released. He knew what was coming and wanted to get in some pre-emptive bragging.

This is about as good as it gets, American workers.

The U.S. economy continued to add jobs at a solid clip in May, with nonfarm payrolls up 223,000 while the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Economists had been expecting payroll growth of 188,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady at 3.9 percent.

The unemployment rate was last this low in April 2000. A separate level of unemployment that adds in discouraged workers and those holding part-time positions for economic reasons fell to 7.6 percent, the lowest since May 2001. A one-tenth point decline in the labor force participation rate to 62.7 percent, tied for the lowest level in 2018, contributed to the headline unemployment rate decline.

The closely watched average hourly earnings metric rose 0.3 percent, as expected. That translates to an annualized rate of 2.7 percent, up one-tenth of a point from April.

Now we just have to hope that tariffs and a trade war don’t mess this all up.

The Greatest Basketball Player of All Time Is . . .

Perhaps David French’s most controversial statement yet: “It’s time to acknowledge that LeBron James is now the best basketball player who ever lived, the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).”

I’m not nearly as big a fan of the NBA as David is, and I’ll acknowledge that it is no longer crazy or too early to argue that LeBron James is the equal of Michael Jordan. There is something truly spectacular about the way James has taken this Cavaliers team on his shoulders, when no teammate seems to be able to get it working, throughout these playoffs. And I’m intrigued by the argument that at some point, James’ record of consecutive NBA finals — he’s at eight right now, and has won three — will be more impressive than Jordan’s six non-consecutive championships.

Here’s the core of my counter-argument that Jordan is still the greatest — although James may surpass him by the time his career ends.

Yes, James is likely to surpass Jordan in total career points next season. But Michael Jordan spent three seasons playing college basketball at the University of North Carolina, while LeBron James jumped straight to the NBA from high school. Of course, Jordan was an astonishingly talented college player as well — he made the game-winning shot in the 1982 championship as a freshman, was twice All-American, and player of the year in 1984. If James had spent three years in college, would his NBA career statistics still be comparable or surpassing Jordan’s? Should Jordan’s college career statistics be thrown in with his professional totals for a more accurate comparison?

The vast majority of what David says about James’ character off the court is persuasive, but let’s not forget the infamous hype of “The Decision” in 2010. James was hated for a little while after that, and not just by Clevelanders. There was something cynical and mercenary about abandoning his long-suffering, championship-deprived hometown at the peak of his career — okay, James’ career has had a lot of peaks — to “take his talents to South Beach” and form a super-team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Fairly or not, this was widely seen as a James admission that he couldn’t do exactly what we’re seeing now — take a team on his shoulders and lead them to a championship without exceptional talent around him.

And can we say that the LeBron James era with the Miami Heat was slightly disappointing? Yes, four trips to the finals, but only two championships, after James had audaciously predicted winning “not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” championships in a rock-concert-like event welcoming him to Miami.

Of course, James returned to Cleveland, brought home a championship, and is probably the greatest athlete in Cleveland history (although Jim Brown might argue otherwise).

One aspect that David didn’t get into was each man’s impact on the culture at large. Yes, today LeBron James is everywhere – in commercials, movies, television shows, probably the single most discussed, analyzed, praised and debated professional athlete in our era.

But you really can’t overstate the phenomenon of Michael Jordan on the United States and the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Gatorade created the song, “If I could be like Mike,” showcasing his status as a sort of cultural secular saint. Nike would not be what it is today without Michael Jordan. The concept of an athlete becoming a distinctive brand became a reality under Jordan. Lots of pro athletes dabbled in acting, but Jordan couldn’t be cast in just another role. Space Jam, for all of its bizarre flaws, demonstrated that the only role audiences could ever accept Michael Jordan in was . . . Michael Jordan, good-hearted, hard-working, gravity-defying quasi-divine athlete, and the only movie star who could stand his ground as Jordan’s co-star was Bugs Bunny. When LeBron James arrived in the NBA in 2003, professional basketball was already becoming a global sport and arguably surpassing baseball in popularity. Michael Jordan put the game there.

(Your perspective on Jordan may be influenced by the years he spent away from basketball, his short-lived career in baseball, and the rumor that Jordan’s sudden retirement and years out of the game were a deal that was arranged in lieu of a suspension for gambling.)

ADDENDA: I’m taping an appearance with Jonah Goldberg’s The Remnant podcast today. Should be fun!


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