Archives for: August 2012, 18
The Heathen Republican applies his thoughtful electoral expertise to unexpectedly helping President Obama win big in November. It hinges on the convention speech. All the President needs to do is acknowledge that he has been a singularly bad President, but point out that there were a few good points, then promise to do better. Heathen generously presents this advice free of charge. It's a wise man who knows the value of his own product.
marindenver at Rumproast puts a CPA to work on what little tax information has been released by Mitt Romney. The CPA is ... well ... marindenver. I dunno. After all, the mystery is solved, right? If the Romney campaign will release 5 more years, Obama's campaign manager has offered to put in writing a pledge that the campaign will not criticize Romney for not putting out more. Romney responds that he has already enlisted an objective observer to verify that he paid everything with complete honesty. The independent observer is reputable and well known. Goes by "Mitt Romney." You can trust him. Would a man who pays all his taxes lie about paying all his taxes?
T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, documents the economic crisis under President Obama with statistical analysis in chart form. His stats kind of leave out a couple of facts. The economy was not only shrinking when Obama took over, it was later discovered to have been shrinking almost three times as fast as originally thought. We were not heading for a cliff. We had already gone over. But T. Paine has lots and lots of data, so pay no attention to that little omission.
Chuck Thinks Right goes into a rant about Joe Biden. Chuck doesn't get around to saying why, except that ole Joe shore is stoopid. My guess is that it has to do with Biden's quite reasonable observation that taking the chains off financial predators would put the chains on consumers. Those who hunger and thirst after indignation have seized on the "chains" part of it as a racial attack. On the other hand, Chuck may be referring to something else. Hard to say for sure.
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster goes mathematical. Registration is down. Independent voters are up. That adds up to ... lessee, carry the 4, ... okay, politically Independent Voters are extra quantum leap important this year.
After a colleague at Mediaite offered the silly suggestion that it was wrong for MSNBC to cover the continuing GOP campaign to outlaw voting rights for those whose proof of identity does not include photos, Tommy Christopher takes him on. The fellow's reasoning was that since most voters say yes when asked if ID should be required, it is wrong to offer opposing evidence. Tommy gently suggests that it is the very reason to keep covering the story. Fidelity to truth is closer to Tommy's idea of journalism than it is to his pandering buddy's notion. Perhaps those who don't have photo ID should be allowed to provide other valid proof?
One thing interesting to me is that Tommy just happened to draw a connection between earlier campaigns to prevent minorities from voting, specifically literacy tests, and the current effort to deny this basic right. It also happens to be a connection to which a friend recently refused to respond. When I asked him to provide some moral distinction between this season's denial of rights and literacy tests of the past, he refused to specify even one difference because ... well ... the two are different. Such is the logic of bartering away the rights of others.
Sexual assault is heinous. Sexual assault on a small child is unspeakable evil. At News Corpse, two incidents seem virtually identical. But they are treated by Fox News very differently. A racial component and a professional connection could have some remote, subtle, distant influence.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, goes time machine on us, channeling a wonderfully insightful speech of 54 years ago by broadcast journalist icon, Edward R. Murrow.
James Wigderson wonders if there is any possibility that a County official in Wisconsin might have been fired for political partisan reasons. I wonder if James is losing his journalistic skills. It took him three whole sentences to completely convince me.
Infidel 753 examines the rift between nice tolerant Christians and ugly hate filled Christians. He concludes that the haters have scripture on their side, while tolerant ones only have Jesus. I think Jesus pretty much summed up scriptural law, and Paul was quite specific. Most Christians would regard both as scripturally sound. One side seems to me to play a bit selectively, leaving the definitive summary out of consideration. I ask Infidel to reconsider his purchase of what literalists are selectively selling.
Ryan at Secular Ethics disposes of the occasionally heard argument that what science cannot explain is proof of God. As you might expect, Ryan does not fall into a straw man trap. Disproving a false argument offered to support a proposition does not disprove a proposition.
On the other hand, Gary William Green of Mad Mike's America really doesn't much care for religion. It is the enemy of science and so those who believe fear all things scientific. If we who worship are doomed to believe every episode of the Flintstones was a documentary, then he must be right.
I'm back to trying to forgive Vincent of A wayfarer's notes. He writes a review of a movie, then rejects it. Then he is inspired by the movie he reviewed to rewrite the review. But his review is a review of the process of re-writing a review. How can anyone be that good at anything?
In response to T. Paine's
Privacy Is Not Immoral - Even for Mitt Romney
...it is my opinion that Obama and his surrogates are making Romney's taxes an issue as a distraction in order to avoid discussing what a vast majority of Americans of all political persuasions consider to be most important in this election; namely jobs and the economy.
That would be a very poor strategy for the reason that I offered last time: Romney could reveal his records at any time, thereby putting an end to this "distraction."
"Do you really think that Romney’s past taxes trump those issues to most voters?"
- T. Paine
If Romney reveals his records and there is no problem, then voters will not care because it will no longer be an issue.
If Romney does not reveal his records, then most voters will probably not care because they will become focused on something else.
If Romney reveals his records and there is a problem, then more voters will care.
Romney benefits from keeping his records a mystery right now. If there is a problem and he conceals it, then it will fade away because Republicans apparently do not care. If there is no problem, then he can wait to prove it at some politically opportune time.
"Further, I would submit that Romney is refocusing voter attention on the economy accordingly."
- T. Paine
He criticizes Obama's economic policies while keeping the details of his own plans secret. He is running on "Reduce the deficit, lower taxes, and promote the free market." In short, he is comparing a charming non-record to Obama's record. That's fine, but we can't really have a debate unless he tells us exactly what he intends to do and how he intends to do it. In the absence of such details, it is reasonable for Obama to focus on other matters. This particular matter is relevant either way.
"If Mr. Root’s theory is correct that it isn’t the grades that Obama is hiding but rather his status as a foreign exchange student from Indonesia by the name of Barry Soetoro..."
- T. Paine
If, if, if. That is quite a leap. Here is a more reasonable explanation: Obama does not believe that his grades matter, but he does believe that some voters will care and that Republicans will use them as another weapon against him. Romney might use the same reasoning regarding his tax records. While I'm curious about both, I only really care about the latter.
"If you think Romney’s tax records, other than those he already released, are more relevant then perhaps you should contact your elected officials in congress and ask them to change the requirements for the number of years back that such records must be submitted for presidential candidates."
- T. Paine
That is a good suggestion. However, it does not change what I personally expect from a presidential candidate right now. If I were otherwise undecided, this could push me toward voting for Obama.
"Lastly, regarding your attempt to prove that I equated 'legal' with “moral”, are you trying to say that by Romney not releasing a decade of his past taxes, that he is somehow immoral?"
- T. Paine
My point was that legality and morality are separate matters. That we can neither imprison nor fine Romney for releasing only the last two years' records does not change the fact that some of us expect more from him for legitimate reasons. "He can do it" is not equivalent to "He should do it."
I am concerned that you are not concerned. We are talking about a presidential candidate. Are you really satisfied with only two years' worth of records from a candidate who may have been preparing for this election for the last two years? Are you saying that you would not expect the same from or be suspicious of Obama if the tables were turned?
Note that I doubt that Romney has broken the law. He has been in the public eye too often for that and I have no reason to believe that he has an inclination toward such behavior in the first place. Nevertheless, a higher standard is justified. It also wouldn't hurt to be able to compare his tax rates to his rhetoric.
"Is so, and assuming that your definition of 'immoral' is an accurate one, then I do need to get me a new Funk & Wagnells."
- T. Paine
Excuse me. I was not aware that there is a dictionary that dictates what is moral to us. I hereby renounce the heresy of reason and desirism to worship Funk and Wagnells (PBUT) and silence the heathen Websterites and Oxfordians.
Ryan is a generous contributor and valued participant. He also writes for his own site, where morality is not confined to narrow legalisms.
Please visit Secular Ethics.