On the 4th of March, 1933, newly elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, taking over the Presidency in the teeth of the Great Depression, intoned his famous words, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!” It was bravado, of course, and in essence a lie: there was a lot to fear. Roosevelt knew it, and the public certainly knew it. The whole economic system seemed to be falling apart. Anti-capitalist evolutionaries were looking for an opportunity to revolt. Nobody was sure what to do.
The statement was effective, however, in focusing the nation on the challenges at hand and riveting the pubic attention on solving problems rather than cringing in terror in fear of them. Roosevelt was a magnificent speaker, warm and charismatic, and that contributed to the force of his rhetoric, but what was most important is that he was trusted. Every new President can draw on a full, newly-replenished account of trust, or at least could, in FDR’s time. A new President’s promises haven’t proven to be air; his political skills and talents, honesty and character have not shown themselves to be inadequate or a fraudulent pose. In rare cases, and FDR was certainly one, they never do. The President, for good or ill, is the human face of the U.S. Government. If he is trusted, it is trusted. Continue reading
Wow! THAT train wreck picked up passengers fast!
- News Media Car: “Good Morning America” co-anchors Paula Faris and Dan Harris, who told their audience members, thereby lowering their IQ’s, that a flight ban makes no sense since Ebola can only be passed via contact with bodily fluids. Well, let’s just let the infected fly, then! How much imagination does it take to think of ways passengers can get another passenger’s bodily fluids on themselves? (HINT: bathrooms). Faris and Harris also know that infected people can move around the country quickly using planes—hell, do they watch their own medium, television? Movies? Thomas Eric Duncan had no symptoms when he boarded a plane to the US, where he infected at least two people before dying. In a situation such as this, effective pubic education is one of the most critical functions of the news media. Choosing to blurt out spontaneous misinformation instead is incompetent and irresponsible.
- Desperate Obama Defense Derangement Car: American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, who in an Ebola-like outbreak of the DODD that he has been suffering from for years, issued a truly despicable post including vile statements like these:
Put a scary disease together with a new terrorist organization and the ever-present threat of undocumented immigrants sneaking over the border, and you’ve got yourself a putrid stew of fear-mongering, irrationality, conspiracy theories, and good old-fashioned Obama-hatred that they’re luxuriating in like it was a warm bath on a cold night…When people are afraid, they’re more likely to vote Republican, so it’s in Republicans’ interest to make them afraid. And you couldn’t come up with a better vehicle for creating that fear than a deadly disease coming from countries full of dark-skinned foreigners. So what if only two Americans, both health care workers caring for a dying man, have actually caught it? You don’t need facts to feed the fear. And they only need two and a half more weeks.
Yes, when all else in your party’s government fails and is failing, blame it on racism. After all, nobody would be worried about a highly infectious, horrible, organ liquifying disease with no vaccine and a 70% fatality rate if it came from Asia or Europe. This is all because Republicans hate the black President. By all means, keep pushing that slander: maybe a real Rodney King-style riot can be launched in St. Louis! That should turn out the base! The fact that the Center For Disease Control that said trust us, we’ll stop this disease “in its tracks” was revealed to be a clown act has nothing to do with the criticism.
“J’accuse …!” ( “I accuse…!”) was a famous open letter to French president Félix Faure, published January 13, 1898 in the newspaper L’Aurore by novelist Émile Zola. It accused the French Government anti-Semitism and a breach of justice in the prosecution and imprisonment of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to lifelong penal servitude for espionage. His well-argued accusation was the epitome of effective finger-pointing, and played a major role in bringing down a corrupt government.
Nonetheless, pointing fingers where they need to be pointed, when they need to be pointed, is inconvenient for the incompetents, miscreants, con artists, spinners and otherwise accountable parties so accused. Thus they and their allies often exploit this peculiar rationalization, which is better described, perhaps, as rationalization fertilizer, since it is a catalyst for the employment of many others, including the Biblical rationalizations. “Don’t point fingers!”, or its common variation, “Stop pointing fingers!” provides protection for the very people who most deserve to be pointed to, allowing them to deny culpability, avoid the just consequences of their failings, and best of all, divert appropriate attention from what they have done or not done to the supposed meanness and vindictiveness of critics who want to make sure the same mistakes don’t occur again, especially with the same officials in charge.
And, ironically, the cry “Don’t point fingers!” is often followed by those who cry it pointing fingers themselves, at others. It has unlocked, in such circumstances, the use of Rationalization #7, The Tit-For-Tat Excuse, which holds that one party’s unethical conduct justifies similar unethical conduct in return. Continue reading
Go ahead, it’s OK…he’s a man, he probably deserves it.
I realize that it seems like I am picking on women who are running for high office as Democrats: this is the third one within a week. It’s a coincidence, except that I have a growing suspicion that Democrats cynically sought out some female candidates for their gender and to hew to a theme rather than because they were especially well-qualified or even ready for prime time.
The current issue involves the Wisconsin governor’s race, where Mary Burke is opposing controversial, public union-battling GOP incumbent Scott Walker. Burke is running a 15-second pro-abortion ad (Walker is anti-abortion) starring Erin Forrest, the Jefferson County Democratic Party chairwoman. In 2013, Forrest — who then called Erin Sievert, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse, the first for battery and the second for disorderly conduct. In the criminal complaint, her husband said that she punched him in the eye and the groin, bit him on the shoulder, and ripped out one of his earrings. Prosecutors offered Forrest a deferred prosecution agreement in which she pleaded guilty to the charges in exchange for having them dropped later if she avoided further legal trouble and met other requirements. She did, and the prosecutors had the domestic violence charges dismissed as agreed.
Still, she agreed, by pleading guilty, that the charges were valid and described her conduct. This is far more than several of the NFL players currently losing millions of dollars and being pilloried in the media as violent lovers and vicious parents have done. Hmmm…..for which job is spousal violence more disqualifying? Throttling large athletes in armor who are paid to be clobbered and being a celebrated hero to sports fans, or being a women’s rights advocate, a role model for young women, and a representative of a candidate for Governor of Wisconsin? Continue reading
“Can Kentuckyians expect her to cast a tough vote on anything? Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything? You want to be a U.S. Senator? If you can’t say — if you can’t find a way to stand behind your party’s president, you can disagree with him but can’t answer that basic question and come across looking ridiculous. I think she disqualified herself”
—–New “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reacting with disgust to Kentucky’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes refusal to answer a reporter’s question regarding whether she voted for President Obama.
Did Allison hear the cock crow, I wonder? And is this why we call such conduct being “chicken”?
Well, she disqualified herself if voters believe senators should possess minimal levels of loyalty, candor, honesty, integrity or courage.
This latest fiasco for GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opponent comes on the heels of her staff and supporters being caught on video opining—Happily! Smugly! Proudly!— that she is lying about supporting the state’s coal industry in order to get elected. It takes a lot to make McConnell look good by comparison, but Grimes seems to have pulled off that amazing achievement with brio.
That’s something, I guess.
Obama’s role model?
Some thoughts as I read the comment below from Ethics Alarms stalwart Steve-O-in-NJ:
- Woodrow Wilson is indeed, in many ways, one of the best comps for President Obama.
- Yet there are still many, even those whose updates appear on my own Facebook page, who will shout to the skies that all such criticisms are partisan, racist, unfair attacks on a marvelous, brilliant, misunderstood Chief Executive.
- Why is that fading breed of Democrats fading? And where are the statesmanlike Republicans? Is there one?
Here is Steve’s Comment of the Day on the post, Leon Panetta’s Memoirs, and Reconsidering Ethics Alarms’ Absolute Condemnation Of Such Books: