Sunday, August 21, 2016

One More Press Fail

“I’m a truth teller,” the Republican nominee told CNBC on Thursday. “All I do is tell the truth."

Needless to say, CNBC didn't bring up Trump's record of falsehoods so their audience would be properly informed.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Another Democratic Fail

Zack Beauchamp lays out clearly why the $400 million paid to Iran was not "ransom".

But the right is on the offensive with claims that the payment was a ransom.

A simple response would be for the administration to point out that the $400 million would have been paid to Iran even if Iran held no hostages.  The only link was holding up the payment until Iran followed though on a separate deal to free hostages.

But I've yet to hear the administration or Democratic pols make this very simple statement, while the "ransom" claim continues to fester and be widely spread.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shame On You, The Atlantic!

While I'm no fan of Bill O'Reilly, I'm also no fan of dishonesty from his opponents in making rhetorical points.

The Atlantic has an online post with this heading:

                How Abigail Adams Proves Bill O'Reilly Wrong About Slavery
and  purports to prove that with this excerpt from one of her letters:
Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, ... to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast.
 Notice the ellipsis after the word "cloathing".  As you can see from the reproduction below, the entire sentence reads:
Two of our hardy N England men would do as much work in a day as the whole 12, but it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of cloathing, or fit for Mayfare, to labour, whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast, Such is the case of many of the inhabitants of this place.
Now we can see what Mrs. Adams was really saying.  A careful reading of her words show that she is pivoting from  a description of White House work habits to a generalization about slavery: that all of them, whether "half fed and destitute of clothing" (in truly wretched condition) to "fit for Mayfare" (fed and dressed well enough for Mayfair, London's most fashionable district) have the same thing in common - they "labour, while the owner waches about idle".  She is saying nothing one way or the other about the condition of slaves working at the White House.

Leaving out the "fit for Mayfair" section completely distorts Mrs. Adams' meaning.  The Atlantic should be ashamed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Watching the American Experience program 1964, I was struck by two related items:

Barry Goldwater's famous line: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

And his reason for voting against the Civil Rights Act:  he believed that Federal Government intervention in enforcing equality in employment and accommodation was too extreme, and that equality for African-Americans in the South should be left to come about by gradual evolution.

Or, as far as liberty and justice for African-Americans went, extremism in the defense of liberty was a vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice was a virtue.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Empty Slogan

So John McCain is urging the GOP to unite behind Donald Trump.

So much for his campaign slogan of "Country First."

Update 8/3/2016.
At least Meg Whitman is responsible enough to put country first.
While acknowledging she diverged from Mrs. Clinton on many policy issues, Ms. Whitman said it was time for Republicans “to put country first before party.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Once Again, the Democrats' Rhetorical Deficiency

As I suggested when the Democrats lost the senate in 2014, they have only themselves to blame for not making their case with simple but accurate descriptions of Republican obstruction.

I suggested that referring to Republican governors' refusal to set up health care exchanges could be called what it was: political spite.  And now the same term could be used to describe the Republicans' refusal to consider the very moderate candidate that President Obama nominated to the Supreme Court.  But the Democrats seem incapable of taking note of George Lakoff's insight:
Liberals try to persuade through reason and facts while conservatives use metaphorical stories and that is why, Lakoff argues, conservative politicians are more successful at motivating voters than liberals are.
Why are Democrats so incapable of coming up with pithy and telling terms that would put Republicans on the defensive? So frustrating, when it's clear there are simple phrases readily to hand.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Missed Opportunity

On April 10 President Obama was interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox news,  Here's part of their exchange:

WALLACE:  -- about Washington, about Wall Street.
Do you feel any personal responsibility that eight years after you came into office, there are millions of people out there who still feel cut out --
OBAMA:  Yes.
WALLACE:  -- from the decisions that affect their lives?
OBAMA:  Well, there’s no doubt that I feel frustrated about it.  My whole, you know, operating assumption, in terms of our democracy, is the more people are involved, the more they know, the more they are involved, the more responsive our government is.
WALLACE:  So why do all these people, Democrats and Republicans?
OBAMA:  Yes, I think that, I think it comes out of a couple things, Chris.  Number one, we’re still shell-shocked from what happened in 2007, 2008.
We’ve now had more than six years straight of job growth, and cut the unemployment rate down to 5 percent.  But, people lost homes, lost jobs, lost life savings.  And they still don’t fully know how that happened, and was the system fixed in a way that they can have confidence in.  I also think that --
WALLACE:  So, have you fixed that in eight years?
OBAMA:  Well, actually we’ve done a better job than I think most people give us credit for.  
WALLACE:  I don’t mean fixed the system.
OBAMA:  Yes.
WALLACE:  I mean fixed the perception.
OBAMA:  Well, the perception is going to be changing over time, as people see results, as they get more confident.  
There was the opportunity there for President Obama to point out that for purely political reasons the Republicans voted down the 2011 Jobs Act that would have significantly helped speed the recovery from the 2007-8 downturn, and that the GOP obstructionist refusal to aid the ailing economy meant more unnecessary suffering for the unemployed and under employed.  The Fox News audience doesn't hear enough about Republican obstructionism - this was an opportunity to enlighten them.