Could a Politician have been less than up front? No…

This, it would seem to me, is important. It might underscore the depth of Obama’s hypocricy, or it might simply show that the health care plan we were offered was 1. a disaster, and 2. not what Obama said it was. I can’t see how it can be seen favorably unless the writer is simply wrenching the statement from its context.

Follow this link: Obama’s Stunning Admission 

And let your mind dwell for a few minutes on the implications. I think they are quite profound.

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The Greatest Possible Web Site in the History of the Human Race

Nothing can ever be done to improve on this website. If it were a woman, it would be Venus. If it were a basketball player, it would be an idealized version of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryan, LeBron James, Bill Russell, and my friend Paris Wright all combined. If it were a war hero, it would be Achilles. If it were a star it would be Sirius. You cannot improve on the glory of this website. If you are a Christian, you are committing a mortal sin by not visiting it everyday – and you are risking the eternal destiny of your soul. If you are not a Christian – well, all I can say is you had better visit this web site before it is too late.

And apparently it is nearly too late, as indicated by the rising unemployment rate and the election of Barack Obama.

Politics as usual?

Good citizens are knowledgeable and involved.  Ignorance has never made a great statesman, yet in this particular election season I find myself wishing to hear less and less from the candidates.  Don’t misunderstand me; I am under no illusion that they have said much at all.  I simply wish to hear less of the trite mumblings that have given rhetoric a bad name.

At one point in the short history of my life, I thought most people saw through obvious contradictions.  For a politician to claim one thing and its opposite in the same speech would have been political suicide…once upon a time.  Now, I fear we have descended to a new low.  I fear the Sophists have won the day and we don’t realize it or, worse yet, simply don’t care.  We smile contentedly as they promise the best of both worlds, physically impossible though they may be.

Barack Obama has promised that 95% of American households that make under $250,000 per year will have no new taxes imposed upon them.  Hurray!  He has also promised to put the majority of the tax burden on the top 5%, taxing big business (particularly oil companies) and the extremely wealthy.  Yeah!  Stick it to the man! 

But, wait a minute.  For whom do the 95% work?  What happens to business owners and major corporations that have to bear the majority of the tax burden for the country (particularly under a president with a penchant for huge spending)?  They go under.  Eventually, businesses will close and corporations will fold under Obama’s tax plan. 

Will the 95% be given tax breaks?  Most likely, but it may be because they have no income. 

What about McCain?  His confusing thought is just as obvious.  When speaking to Republican groups, particularly at the Convention, he delivered a remarkable address.  I thought it was quite stirring and, at the time, I became even more convinced of his dedication to our country and his ability to lead it.  His goal seemed to be to reassure some Republicans and let them know that he really is a conservative.  Hurray! 

But, what should we make of his speeches when he is outsideof predominantly Republican company.  In the most recent debate, I lost track of how many times he spoke of “reaching across the aisle” or across “party lines” or the like.  That sounds great and, in my opinion, should occur on many issues, but if he spends as much time reaching across the aisle as he indicates, then don’t we just end up spending our time across the aisle?  He has even indicated that he has made his own party mad at him on several occasions. 

Here’s how it shakes out in a very rough logical syllogism:

All McCain is a “maverick” (against his own party)

All McCain is a true conservative Republican (in line with his own party)

Therefore, A true conservative Republican in line with his own party is a maverick against his own party.

Perhaps this is a possibility, but it would require and deserve some explanation if so.

It is tempting to simply be angry with these two candidates, whether for outright dishonesty or incompetence, but the blame does not lie primarily with them.  It is our fault.  We have allowed ourselves to be happily duped.  We refuse to read, reject critical thinking because it too difficult and time-consuming, and make little effort to better ourselves. 

In November, as most of us step into a booth to cast a vote, we will peruse the candidates and we will see many names we do not recognize because we deemed it too insignificant to research.  We will sigh as we begin to select our choice for president and wonder why we haven’t been given better options, all the while failing to recognize that the most troublesome contradictions during election season did not rest with the candidates at all.

P.S. – Dear Reader, consider this an impassioned call for the “change we need” from one eternal optimist playing the temporal pessimist.    

McCain’s lies, revisited

In today’s news, TheHill.com brings out the old Lilian Helmann, statistics, bromide, applying it to that dishonorable, disgusting John McCain. Here, according to Mark Mellman, is the case against John McCain:

Yet John McCain himself stands behind the lies and the dishonor. There is not a kernel of truth in the statement that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin a pig. There is not an iota of reality in McCain’s attack on Obama’s supporting comprehensive sex education for kindergartners. As we all know, he voted to help children avoid sexual predators.

On the sexual predator question, I would refer you to the article below that shows conclusively that either Obama’s intentions and his vote were not on friendly terms with each other or that Obama is dishonest. I don’t believe the second, so I go with the former.

However, the other horrific lie John McCain appears to have told is that “Obama called Palin a pig.” Before I can reply to that charge, I’d need to see where McCain claimed Obama called Palin a pig. i did find this on the Associated Press website.  

Did he call her a pig?” McCain was asked. “No, I but know that he chooses his words carefully, and it was the wrong thing to say,” he responded.

As I recall, the charge was nuanced, not arguing that he called her a pig, but that his words were, in the context in which they were spoken, easily taken that way. In other words, Obama didn’t directly call her a pig, but he knew that his audience would take it that way, as they did, or else he didn’t know and should have.

I have a hard time remembering what exactly the ad said because I can’t find it on line for some reason. And that matters, because all I’m commenting on here is whether John McCain actually lied about what Obama said. I would argue that, given the context, one could defend the statement that Obama was calling Palin a pig. It was indirect, if he was, but I think one could defend the statement.

I don’t believe McCain should have accused Obama of doing so, if he did. I do think McCain has a case to make that Obama knew what he was doing and either did or should have known how his words would be taken IN THE CONTEXT they were delivered.

So it is wrong to say McCain lied. I’m not sure how much more is wrong. Maybe McCain’s ultimate goal was to show that Obama isn’t such a great communicator after all. If that was his goal and if he put questions in people’s mind, then he was successful. I’m not sure the success was worth it for him though.

Obama has great communication skills, especially on the inspirational, formal side. Then that is where he will also be most vulnerable to pride and therefore break down. Obama should have been aware of how these words would be taken. Maybe he still should have said them. Maybe it was a truly great line.

But he can’t accuse McCain of lying by making McCain say something he never said.

That nuance shouldn’t give the democrats and the media any problem, because everybody knows they are much more refined and nuanced than the red neck Republicans.

I emphasize “everbody knows” because that is what Mr. Mellman emphasizes in his, er, article. Give it a read. Look for the support for his points and see if he does better than your junior high student.

By the way, Mellman, who writes for the HIll, “is president of The Mellman Group and has worked for Democratic candidates and causes since 1982, including Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.”

I must hastily add that I do these blogs for educational purposes (practicing the application of reason to the argument), not for political reasons. I am amused by the media’s strategy for dealing with McCain/Palin and find it deeply disappointing at the same time. When I consider how silly and one sided the coverage has been, I shake my head and wish for more educated news folk.

Now that nobody knows how to think, those who speak don’t have anybody whose presence shames them when they open their mouths. This is a greater loss than we think.

My point on the issue is that if they’re going to go after McCain for his character, they’ll have to pull their teeth out of the carcass they’re gnawing on (the lipstick and sex ed accusations) and recognize it’s an empty skin. They’re leaving the impression of political amateurity, which makes sense, since there are now so many news people that the skill level would have to drop without an extensive minor league system to prepare them.

When you boil down what the media have come up with, it seems as if what this election boils down to is whether John McCain lied about things he didn’t clearly lie about even though everybody knows he did and whether Barack Obama or Sarah Palin is more experienced. Go figure.