Archives For rhetoric

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

No, not just for some but for everyone

I love the song lyrics above. They give me hope that someday, probably in the very distant future the world will turn to love but we got a long ways to go before that can even remotely become reality. In the interim I am just praying that the world has a little less spite tomorrow than it does today. Spite is such a destructive thing to humanity. It is hateful rhetoric that we need a lot less of.

I want to make sure that we are on the same page so I will give you an official definition of that word here:

spite         noun

feeling a need to see others suffer ⤻
syn: malice, maliciousness, spitefulness, venom
malevolence by virtue of being malicious orspiteful or nasty ⤻
syn: cattiness, bitchiness, spitefulness, nastiness
verb 1

hurt the feelings of ⤻
syn: hurt, wound, injure, bruise, offend

The Face of SpiteThe picture here is from a display panel at the Brown vs Board of Education historic site. The look on the young girls face behind the African-American entering a once segregated school is the ultimate spite in my mind. There is nothing in the world productive about spite. It only has a totally malicious, often hateful, purpose.

I ran across an invisible face of spite recently when I accepted a friend request from someone I remotely knew from my high school days. When his Facebook postings came up the next day he was passing on a cartoon with the final frame calling President Obama a “shit head”.  When I commented that I wonder if calling the first dark-skinned president a shit head was intentional or just Freudian. He said he just thought it was funny and did not hate the president.

But this brought out one of his other “friends” screaming spite in a diatribe about how the president was evil and the worst person in the history of the world. I enjoy debating people who have different political or philosophical outlooks on life but I have learned from experience that is not possible to do that with people who scream so loud. They are not about to hear anything but their own rants or maybe reinforcement of their prejudices.  Sadly I am discovering too many of my previous high school classmates in this mode. I wonder what happened to them in the intervening years to cause such anger toward anyone? I wonder if that young girl in the picture who is now in her 60s or 70s ever mellowed out? I pray that she did…

What the world needs now is a lot less spite, then maybe we can move on to a little love….

Spin, Spin, Spin…

March 17, 2015

2015-03-03_08-42-13Remember when George W. Bush sold himself as a “compassionate conservative”? Of course you do. Now, his brother Jeb is using a similar formulation, describing himself as an “inclusive conservative.” The difference may seem trivial at first, but the Bushes are no fools when it comes to winning elections. And this difference tells us something about the changing perception of the parties, as well as the changing priorities of left and right….

A recent Pew survey found that 60 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party “cares about the middle class.” Forty-three percent of respondents said the same of Republicans, a 17-point gap.

But the same Pew survey found that 59 percent of respondents said that Democrats are “tolerant and open to all groups of people,” and only 35 percent said the same of Republicans, a 29-point gap….

This is the latest sign that culture war issues continue to move to the front of our politics, while economic issues take a back seat. Fifteen years ago, the Republican problem was that it seemed to have nothing tangible to offer the poor, blacks, or others on the margin of society. For Jeb, the problem with conservative conservatism is that it is exclusive. Conservatism is for the married, white, Christian, suburban, and exurban.

SOURCE: How Jeb Bush is tweaking his brother’s brand of ‘compassionate conservatism’.

I would love to see a poll on how many people today believe that brother George lived out is self-proclaimed label “compassionate conservative” while he was in office.  I suspect that only hard-core Republicans would answer yes.  Maybe I am skeptical here, it wouldn’t be the first time, but I kind of think that this self-labeling stuff is nothing but spin. These guys, and I am talking about all politicians here, think that they can describe themselves as anything they want and maybe it will get them a few more votes for those very naive voters out there.

Having said all that I do kind of wish that it had been Jeb who ran the country for eight years instead of his brother.  George was just not my kind of guy. Too much swagger, too much bravado, too unread, too fixated on sports…  Jeb just seems to be a mellower type guy who would make decisions based on his intellect instead of alway his guts.  This article goes on to say the Hillary just doesn’t wear the “compassionate” label too well either. Her demands for six-figure payments for her speeches maybe show her core values too prominently for me.

But the name of the game in today’s politics is spin, spin, spin.  You don’t have to know what you are saying as long as you say it with authority. That seems to be the mantra for all those yahoos inside the beltway.  They put on masks for each group they want support from. I don’t know if Mitt Romney really believed his 47% rhetoric but it was good spin for the group he was then talking to.  The problem is that video cameras are now everywhere. There are thousands in every major city street corners and in almost everyone’s pocket now. You just can’t get away with spinning to one group without everyone knowing it.

My dream for 2016 is that there is neither a Bush nor a Clinton on either ticket…

2014-10-11_08-51-14Americans have a thing for starting over. We love the idea of breaking from the past, beginning from scratch, getting a new life, setting out on a fresh path.

No wonder, then, that some of us seem to be taken with the idea of solving our political problems by calling a constitutional convention to craft a new founding document — one that is less… well, it sort of depends on what you find intolerable about the present system.

Conservatives spend their days dreaming of a balanced budget amendment, term limits for Supreme Court justices, and special protections for the free enterprise system.

Libertarians worry about ever-expanding executive power.

Liberals agonize over the influence of wealthy special interests on all branches of government.

Centrists fret about generalized governmental dysfunction and the danger that it will lead to the kind of breakdown that we’ve seen in presidential democracies throughout the developing world.

I have sympathy for a number of these complaints, especially the ones highlighted by the liberals and centrists. But that doesn’t mean calling a constitutional convention is a good idea. On the contrary, it’s an atrocious idea — and one that would be likely to make our very real problems far worse.

SOURCE:  The myopic folly of demanding a new constitutional convention – The Week.

I thoroughly agree with the folks over at “The Week” that a constitutional convention in the U.S. is a bad idea right now. With all the partisan groups running around the country with their heated rhetoric and not listening to anything anyone else says this is especially a bad time to be fiddling with our foundation documents.  I’m not sure that there is really ever a good time to do it but for now it is best to stay away from the foundations.

But it would be nice to get some people in charge who don’t have a battleship full of baggage! All those guys in Washington seem to have a personal agenda of one sort or another that often trumps the people’s will. All this “right to bear arms” stuff is totally illogical if we take all the words of that amendment seriously. The amendment was to protect militias not guns.  All the gay marriage antagonizers must come to realize that the government is not in the religion business. They simply create legal documents that bind us together. If you want to tag homosexual unions as immoral that is fine but that is not the government’s business.

Until we can manage to at least get along with each other at some of the most basic levels we need to step back from anything that has any long-term consequences. I’m not personally sure that we will ever come to any level of agreement about anything now but at least we can hold out some hope that our children or grandchildren will be able to manage that feat. As long as we don’t pollute their thinking too much maybe they will see a common cause when they take the reigns of power. I don’t know but at least I am hoping that to be the case.

But what do I know….

Source: FACT CHECK: Ryan Takes Factual Shortcuts in Speech – ABC News.

Laying out the first plans for his party’s presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama’s policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit.

I must admit that Mr. Ryan really knows how to give a speech. He got the crowd worked up to a fever pitch last night. He is almost as good at it as Mr. Obama in that regard. I must also admit that the media sure does have creative ways for evaluating political rhetoric. I am just a simple guy but to me “factual shortcuts” sure do sound like just telling lies.  I am a wordsmith by nature. I look for just the right word to add to many of my posts but I try not to call things “untruths” or “factual shortcuts” when there is actually a more appropriate word readily available.  Here are some of the fact check discussions from this article.

RYAN: “And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”

THE FACTS: Ryan’s claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

In addition, Ryan’s own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program’s spending even more than the changes Obama made, shifting future retirees into a system in which they would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans. Critics charge that would expose the elderly to more out-of-pocket costs.

So here is the VP candidate railing against what he is actually for with even more cuts! Being a wordsmith I look for just the right words to describe this and to me it is being two-faced which of course means deceitful or hypocritical. Pick whichever one you like; they  both apply here. If you can tolerate more go to the source article and see the other gross fabrications of the truth by Mr. Ryan.  The differences between reality and his speech are totally amazing to me.  I’m sure Mr. Ryan thinks he is only playing a game here by grossly distorting the facts but some of us think it is much more than that. It puts your integrity on the line.  I really hope he is a better and more truthful person than the rhetoric from his speech shows him to be….

But what do I know….

The Hawks….

August 30, 2012

Source: Paul Ryan weighs in on Middle East policy – First Read.

He continued: “In the past day, Iran’s president called our ally Israel, quote, a cancerous tumor that must be excised. Let me be really clear. Under President Romney, our adversaries will think twice about challenging America and our allies because we believe in peace through strength. There will be no daylight between America and our friends around the world. Strong national defense, peace through strength, strong relationship with our allies.” 

This post is part of my ongoing search into just who Paul Ryan is. I want to understand why a very good clergy friend of mine endorses him so highly.

The only thing that kept me from being very upset by this article is that I know that campaign rhetoric very very rarely becomes action upon holding an office. My hero Will Rogers had much to say about campaign rhetoric but I will save that for a future post.  Let’s face it the old adage that politicians will say absolutely anything to get elected is as true today as it ever was. I pray Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney maintain that pattern. I certainly don’t want to hear their rhetoric turned into actions if they by some remote chance were to get elected 🙂

The words above sound like the mad military general from the movie Dr. Who just aching to get into a battle with anyone he could find. I hope there is some “daylight between America and it friends” when it comes to putting our children into a war zone. I know we consider Afghanistan our current friends and our sons and daughters continue to die there on a daily basis. When we were on the rampage against Iran after the hostage crisis we considered Hussein our friend and ally. Do we really want to use our overwhelming military might, and because we spend so much on it it is overwhelming, when any of our current allies feel dissed?

Mr. Obama has proved to be much more hawkish than I ever dreamed but to put Ryan/Romney there would make President Obama’s actions timid indeed.

But what do I know…

You know the platform will always be the same, promise everything, deliver nothing. – July 8, 1928   Will Rogers

Of course Will’s message above applies to both Republicans and Democrats and is equally applicable today.  You might even say this is the campaign theme for the Romney presidential run. The Mitt Romney of a couple of months from now will be nothing like the Mitt Romney of six months ago. He got the Republican nomination by promising to be just like the radical right core of his party. He lined up behind all their “anti” stands. Now that he seems the assured candidate he will undoubtedly be moving toward the political center.

One could argue that this is the same thing that happened to Barak Obama in the 2008 election. Those in his party were against Mr. Bush’s wars so he came out and said he would end them quickly after his election.  Many in his party were appalled by the fact that so many in our country were without healthcare so he vowed to provide of healthcare for all soon after he was elected.

I guess I could go back to almost any of the dozen or so presidential elections I have voted and find this the be generally the case. The candidates will promise absolutely anything to get elected and end up delivering nothing.  The biggest problem with this issue it that the typical American voter just never seems to “get it”. They, and I am including myself here, fall for all the rhetoric and then are distraught that none of this is implemented. So, when the circle is complete is it us, the voters, who are at fault with the current system.  We just are too fearful to change it as it needs to be changed.

But what do I know….