The Fourth Estate Finds True Love

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

The fact that most of the Press has been completely in the tank for Senator Obama is obvious to everyone except the most fervent Obama supporters.

ABC News columnist Michael S. Malone has written a column which discusses how such naked advocacy is a betrayal of the most basic principles of journalism.

Update-Joe Biden encounters a journalist who apparently hasn’t been smitten by the love bug.

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7 Responses to The Fourth Estate Finds True Love

  • I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

  • Chuck Baldwin and Raplh Nadar said some pretty interesting things about the media during their debate thursday night, needless to say it wasn’t flattering either.

    > Sarah Palin is invited to meet with the Pope while he is vacationing south
    > of Rome in Venice. The liberal press reluctantly watches the semi-private
    > audience, hoping they will be able to allot minimal coverage, if any.
    > The Pope asks Governor Palin to join him on a Gondola ride through the
    > canals of Venice. They’re admiring the sights and agreeing on moral issues
    > when, all of a sudden, the Pope’s hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and
    > out into the water.
    > The gondolier starts to reach for the Pontiff’s cap with his pole, but
    > this move threatens to overturn the floating craft. Sarah waves the tour
    > guide off, saying, “Wait, wait. I’ll take care of this. Don’t worry.”
    > She steps off the gondola onto the surface of the water and walks out to
    > the Pope’s hat, bends over and picks it up. She walks back across the
    > water to the gondola and steps aboard. She hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.
    > The next morning the topic of conversation among Democrats in Congress, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, the New York Times, Hollywood celebrities, and in France and Germany is: “Palin Can’t Swim.”

  • That was a great interview by Ms. West… If the msm wasn’t in the tank for the O-man; we would be ahead by 30 points 🙂

  • That link to Diane West’s interview doesn’t work anymore. Here’s the youtube link:

  • Thanks for the tip Cathy. I’ve embedded the video in the post now.

  • Eric,

    Thanks for stopping by and please come back often. We have some great writers here.

Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

A good part of what I was trying to say in my Socialist post the other day concerned the relationship between precision in political rhetoric and its ability to persuade; in short, I think that “toned-down” rhetoric is more likely to convince an interlocutor (let alone an observer)  of at least the plausibilty of one’s position than is the “speaking truth to power” approach.

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22 Responses to Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

  • Just so.

    I suppose it’s just an intellectual twitch of mine, but whenever I hear that someone is a person who “speaks truth to power”, I have the strong urge to walk rapidly in the opposite direction. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything worth hearing given that moniker.

    Much though I don’t want to see an Obama presidency, and eager as I will be to keep it to four years if it happens, I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties. Aside from being unattractive, such obsessions make it harder to understand one’s opponent, and thus defeat him.

  • I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties.

    Ditto. We can certainly push back against the administration, but I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives or disenchanted leftists.

  • I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives …”

    You’d never see that even if such books existed by the truckload. They’d be neatly hidden away outside of public view. That is, if Borders bothered to stock them at all.


  • Jay:

    Good point. But hopefully we won’t be seeing too much of that kind of stuff either way.

  • On this issue of measured rhetoric, why is it that there has been little (or no) measured critique of the Bush Administration by Senator McCain? It seems that he could have critiqued President Bush’s bloating of the federal government and budget in a decidedly un-conservative way.

    Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).

  • “Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).”

    There was little that the Bush administration did domestically that McCain did not attack at one time or another.

    Here is a link to a newspaper story from May 22, 2004 in which McCain attacked the budget of the Bush administration.

    “Yesterday the budget hold-up drew fierce criticism of the Senate rebels by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. But John McCain, the Arizona senator and one of the four, angrily shot back, accusing “some of those in our party” of abandoning the commitment of “real Republicans” to fiscal responsibility.”

  • Thank you Donald. I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.

  • I don’t think McCain has done a very good job of that — partly, I imagine, because he doesn’t want to offend the 25% of voters (pretty much all Republicans I assume) who still say they approve of Bush’s performance. In that sense, someone with more conservative credentials would have probably been able to campaign better than McCain, criticizing Bush from the Right.

  • “I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.”

    Good question Father. McCain is a true maverick and campaigns in the way he wishes to campaign whether it makes sense to others or not. Not stressing this difference with Bush doesn’t make much sense to me, since the Republican base is always in favor of the government spending less.

    One decision McCain made was to save most of his advertising money until the last two weeks. This gave Obama a four to one, in some states an eight to one advantage. Now they are making huge ad buys and Obama’s ad avantage is now down to 5-4 nationally. A very risky tactic, and we shall see how it works for McCain. I can understand why he did this however. If you can’t match your opponent dollar for dollar, do it when you know the voters will be paying attention.

  • So I’m supposed to pretend I think Obama means well when really I know better?

    I’ll just stick with the truth, thanks.

  • Steve, how is this any different than people say that Bush lied us into Iraq, because, well, they just *know* that he intentionally deceived us? There is *no way* I’d ever vote for Obama, but I don’t need to employ overblown rhetoric to make my case… as DC noted at the top, the whole “speaking truth to power approach” invariably turns people off. So if our goal is to actually *convince* people of the truth and rightness of our position, we ought to employ an approach which makes that more likely, not less.

  • Agreed, Chris. Measured rhetoric is more persuasive. Given that persuasion is a prerequisite for the maintaining of laws and policies in a democratic society, I’d say persuasive rhetoric should be the rule. Moreover, cases against Obama’s policies will better persuade if they are not undermined by hyperbolic or demeaning rhetoric.

  • Measured rhetoric seems to me the most optimum pathway towards bringing others into your own camp. It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.

    Yes I know the analogy is pretty simple, but it does state the case very well.

    What do they say? You’ll attract more with honey than with vinegar.

  • I don’t mean to be a jerk–seriously I don’t. But Obama wants to re-legalize a procedure of delivering babies up to their head, stabbing them in the back of the skull and sucking out their brains. That’s not overblown rhetoric; it’s the truth. It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description.

    So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this? I guess it would be “choice”?? The culture of death already has the upper hand in a lot of ways, and now we’re willing to play on their home field by using their lexicon to define terms of debate?

    I think we run the risk of sanitizing some dramatically anti-human, anti-Christian ideologies–and in doing so, blind ourselves and our neighbors to the dangers of electing radicals like Obama.

  • It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description. So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this?

    Steve, I agree with you: that is an apt description. No, “choice” is *not*, because it isn’t a description at all. But I’m not talking about how to describe the process of PBA or infanticide… I’m talking about this: how can we persuade people that PBA needs to be outlawed? What is the most effective way to convince them? Just as a matter of psychology, I don’t think calling them “baby killer” is likely to work. I can assure you, I’ve had the experience of employing language that is stark and explicit, and it inevitably fails as a matter of persuasion.

  • And I know you aren’t trying to be a jerk, Steve. 🙂

  • Definately not a jerk. The question needed to be asked. 🙂

  • -It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.-

    Man. Does this work? I’ve been married eleven years and now it’s too late to try it. Rats!

  • Well, thanks for the assumption of good faith, but when I re-read my first post in this thread, even I thought I was a jerk.

    Now, I do believe that persuasion can be greatly effective in certain circumstances. If you are debating the best way to create jobs or save social security, or any number of things, I think it is an effective tool.
    That said, I appreciate, and generally agree with your point. What troubles me, however, is that Obama’s words, associations, and voting record suggest to me that he does in fact have a radical leftist ideology.

    Now, how do you use measured rhetoric to combat this?

    Using the PBA example, if someone knows about PBA, how can we convince someone that it’s wrong? Isn’t it self-evident?

  • Steve:

    You raise a good question. I think we can be forceful without becoming unhinged. Just look at Egan’s wonderful article today. It was blunt, and even shocking to a degree, but he maintained an even tone that simply laid all the facts on the table. I think he gave us an example to be followed.

  • And I assumed most people know what article I am referencing, but if not, here it is.

  • Rob,

    Oh, it totally works. But all is not lost: You can always try hitting on your own wife while you’re at the grocery store together.

Both Candidates Are Wrong on Taxes

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

With each presidential debate it struck me more that both presidential candidates are wrong about taxes: wrong both in that neither man’s proposals are realistically enactable, in that they are not the correct responses to our current circumstances, and that they suggest some basic problems with their political philosophies.

McCain wants to provide a tax cut to all tax payers — though since the vast majority of real tax dollars paid by those in the top 10% of the income spectrum, the greatest savings will be experienced by “the rich”. McCain also wants to cut the corporate tax rate to bring it in line with other developed nations. And he promises to cut spending so much that he’ll nonetheless balance the budget.

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6 Responses to Both Candidates Are Wrong on Taxes

  • You see, as of now it is already the case that roughly 50% of US citizens pay no taxes.

    No income taxes. Those who don’t make enough to pay income taxes still pay other sorts of taxes (e.g. payroll taxes).

  • Even if you would have already got back every dollar of income tax withholding that had been taken from your paycheck during the year, Obama’s plan would provide you with additional money back. The check for your “refund” at the end of the year would be hundreds or thousands of dollars more than the total amount that had been withheld.

    It’s already that way. I receive a refund of thousands more than I put in, in large part to Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich”. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good in the sense that it helps keep lower income families in the game, so to speak, rather than in the desperate cycle of the public dole. Bush’s cuts gave more relief to larger families like mine – though I’d rather see more proportionality in that regards. I don’t necessarily view it that 50% of the people don’t pay taxes. I know you were referring to federal income taxes, but the reality is that everyone pays taxes. It may not be a right or wise way of doing it but the current scheme merely serves to offset some of the tax burden that low income already bear (gas taxes, utility taxes, property taxes [very punitive in some communities], sales tax, state income tax [even some cities have income tax – Detroit taxes your income if you live in the city and all who work in the city, meaning a double hit if you dare live and work there], and let’s not forget insane tobacco taxes, which like the lottery are taxes directed at the poor who have little of anything but to look for some simple pleasure to cope or a gamble for hope.

    It would seem to me that if we’re going to have a progressive income tax, the standard deductions should be far higher, giving everyone, rich and poor alike a certain threshold of untaxed income.

    Means testing Social Security has benefits and could be just, but I don’t trust the same people who have made it insolvent to do something wise and just. First step I’d like to see with Social Security/Med would be to remove the cap on the base contributions and perhaps create a threshold before employee contributions actually kick in (the numbers would have to be crunched). I’m not a class warfare kind of guy, and don’t like to see anybody soaked, but to keep contributing 7.65% of your wage after $100 K a year doesn’t seem over the top to me and if as a society we’re going to consider SS a good thing, we should do it wisely.

    On the other hand, capital gains taxes shouldn’t be punitive (certainly shouldn’t be taxed higher than your income tax bracket and should have inflation factored in – a long term investment may appear to have a huge gain, but could be an actual wash due to inflation). The idea of an inheritance tax strikes me as outright criminal.

    Still, the problem is that we let the government get too big and screw too many things up. Policies should be made that direct the order of things to desirable outcomes (less burden and assistance of the poor and low income, more of the burden for those who can bear it), rather than merely soaking one person to hand it over to another while skimming off the top to administer it and perpetuate the cycle.

  • Good point on other taxes — I’d been trying to explicitly say “income taxes” since that’s what’s been in play, but I missed a few instances — and as you say: everyone pays payroll, gas, sales, etc. taxes.

    I would have no problem with taking the cap off payroll taxes, and perhaps putting in a floor where the first 2k/mo or something aren’t taxed at all. I know there’s the theory out there that social security and medicare are social services that everyone pays for rather than a welfare/safety net function (and thus the idea of everyone paying alike) but it seems it’s well past time we admit that was pretty much always a fiction.

    Given that social security was all “invested” in the government loaning itself money to spend on other things, we ought to go ahead and develop a slightly more progressive way of funding it just like other government programs, and make it clear that those who are able are expected to fund their own retirements.

    I take your point, Rick, that there are already refundable tax credits via the child tax credit. (I had two years where I got more money back than I put in, and that was with only one and two kids.) However, it strikes me that Obama’s proposal takes things in a significantly worse direction on that, given that he wants to simply issue a credit of $500 per adult, plus other credits for child care and college and such. I’d rather see a move dispense with the tax credits and exemptions for children and instead do income tax on the basis of per capita household income (divide the total household income by the number of members). That would provide a significantly greater benefit for parents of dependant children, and more accurately reflect the real costs people are dealing with.

  • By the way, my understanding is that Obama isn’t proposing to give a $500 tax credit to every adult so much as he’s proposing to keep that credit from going away when the Bush tax cuts expire. The tax credit, in other words, is already in existence, and Obama’s plan counts this as a “cut” only by treating the expiration of the Bush tax cuts as a baseline, rather than a tax increase.

  • Hmmm. I thought the only refundable tax credit I’d seen on my taxes the last few years was the per child tax credit — but I suppose I may be wrong on that.

    Clearly, it would be in the partisan interests of both parties to deny it was a Bush carry over if that’s correct.

  • I think Obama has a lot of other refundable tax credits for things like energy efficiency and college education (from $2000 to $4000).

    I sympathise with your arguments about how everyone should pay taxes, but don’t you think income inequality makes that not very feasible? The median household income doesn’t provide all that much room for taxes if your paying rent/mortgage payments, kids’ college or your own student loans, payroll tax for two income earners, and trying to save a little money.

Obama, ACORN and the US Bishops' Conference*

Thursday, October 9, AD 2008

Deal Hudson ( reports that the U.S. Bishop’s Conference Gave ACORN Over $1,000,000 in 2007:

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development gave $1.1 million to ACORN in 2007. You can find this fact on the CCHD website. If you add up all the groups called ACORN or Association Of Community Organization For Reform Now, you get a total of $1,111,000 in 2007.

Now, this wouldn’t be the same ACORN repeatedly making the news for its bullying “direct action” tactics and subject of repeated investigations for voter fraud, would it?

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6 Responses to Obama, ACORN and the US Bishops' Conference*

  • I am proud that I have never given a cent to the Campaign For Human Development. There are plenty of worthy Catholic charities to contribute to directly, without sending money to an intervening agency which might send money down an evil rat hole.

  • There are plenty of worthy Catholic charities to contribute to directly

    The obvious choice being, for a start, the nearest St. Vincent de Paul group. As I’ve seen the growing number of families which our parish’s St. Vincent de Paul group is providing with rent/mortgage and utility money, I’ve tried to give them first priority over more national appeals. In part because, like the dishonest steward, if the recession hits close to home I want to know that I’ve done all I can to support those who were in trouble before me.

  • Given their penchant for funding sketchy organizations in the past which promote causes in direct conflict with Church teaching on abortion, contraception and homosexuality) I’ve never donated anything to them either. (Human Life Review has done some good reporting on the CCHD in the past).

    Thanks for the recommendation, Darwin — I’ll keep that in mind.

  • As a Catholic, knowing for years Acorn was leftie as heck, its Boycott time against the CCHD solicited in our parishes. I haven’t given for years. As pointed out in some comments, there are so many “kosher” Catholic organizations that need financial help — and many that help the poor — that boycotting the USCCB’s CCHD certainly leaves no guilt as far as supporting the Faith is concerned.

  • I remember the cold war, how Moscow sent it dissidents to Siberia to die a cold and miserable death. Serving off the coast of North Vietnam also reminded me of the reason I fought against Marxism. Saul Alinski, a horrid creature who weaseled his way into the Catholic Church in Chicago with his communist organization called Campaign For Human Development. This evil man turned Chicago and this element of the Catholic church into an arm of Marxist Workers International. I have never given to this organization, because it was the Matt family newspaper The Wanderer, who told me what Alinski had accomplished. All that is now forgotten however, Acorn now a child of the Alinski movement is doing significant damage to our voting system. I seriously beg people to go to you voting booth on November 4th and get permission to watch what is going on to observe any irregularity during this presidential election.

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