Sunday, March 6, 2016

Donald Trump, President Obama And The Power Of Rhetoric.

Philosophical Conservatism
Rhetoric is a powerful force.    
We all recall the spectacle of watching American Liberals swept away in a tidal wave of rhetoric eight years ago, under the spell of a junior senator from Illinois who had not been very notable during his short time in the congress. 
What  mattered was that he was a compelling speaker; he excited and energized the people.  Watching this myself, I glibly assumed that this was the sort of thing that only Progressives were susceptible to (given their Utopian bent). Conservative Republicans, I thought,  were hard nosed realists that look at who a man actually is; at his history. For history is unquestionably the only way that we can know any person to which we ourselves have not had personal access. What it seems we are discovering is that human beings can  be very susceptible to rhetoric regardless of their ideological stripe.  Now the character of that rhetoric may vary; in one case we may have high eloquent rhetoric, and in another  we may have bold-sounding, feisty, straight to the point rhetoric.  The point is however that in each case rhetoric serves as a replacement for action.   
What is courage and character?  Courage and character  do not consist of speaking in a confident, firm or aggressive tone.  It means to faithfully stand for a set of principles over time, even when it is difficult to do.  Now having the strength of one’s convictions comes from a desire  to see certain things take place within your  nation..  The man who truly has the good of his country as his highest priority will always be content  to see another man or woman with similar values occupy that same office instead of himself. He would certainly  never do anything that would unquestionably turn that country over to his political opponents. Any man who seeks the prestige of the office above the advancement of his principles cannot be trusted with the power of the office.  At the beginning of this race Mr.  Trump refused to pledge his support for the eventual Republican nominee. After  considering his lead in the polls and the political pressure  he agreed to do so. When recently another candidate began to pull ahead in the polls he indicated that he would revoke that pledge, but once he proved triumphant in South Carolina  he reversed himself once more. 
Both the history of  political positions here (on healthcare, abortion, gun control, even taxes) and the unwillingness to lay down his  own personal ambition  for the sake of Conservative political beliefs  should be a clue on the question of conviction.  Now president Obama by contrast is a true believer in his ideals who would  support any fellow Progressive candidate win or lose. The overall point here is that we must become more concrete in the assessment of our political candidates.   Let the things that excite us be the things that we have learned about their actions and their character; not  their campaign rhetoric in the present moment.   
People within an authoritarian society are lead by the picture that a leader  paints of himself. The people within a free society are lead by the picture that reality paints of a man.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Middle Finger Symphony Theater

* No Tuxedos Required *

Jersey Fat Guy Squashes Rumors He's Being Held Hostage in Donald Trump's Basement

After it appeared like he was being told to get his ass back on the plane after introducing Donald Trump at a campaign event, this may be the moment Chris Christie’s political career strapped on cement shoes and drowned itself in the river:
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday addressed those who mocked his stone-faced expression during a press conference on Super Tuesday. 
“No, I wasn’t being held hostage,” Christie said at a press conference in New Jersey."
We're going to file that clarification right along with Yeb Bush’s campaign having to explain that Yeb tweeting a picture of a gun with his name on it was not  a desperate cry for help, though it’s easy to see how so many could assume, jokingly (or maybe seriously!). Humiliating. Embarrassing. And even sadder still.

Earlier this week, the New Hampshire Union Leader, which had endorsed Christie when he was still running for president, published an editorial saying boy, that sure was a mistake, and it regrets the error. Then everyone in New Jersey, including all of its liberal commie rag newspapers, demanded Christie resign to spend more time stuffing his face with nachos and vitamins. So Christie, who is still allegedly the governor of the state, held a press conference to further disgrace himself.

We don't know if we should take Christie at his word, though. Denying that he is Trump’s hostage is exactly what Trump would force him to say if he were Trump’s hostage, isn’t it?

Gov. Christie, if Trump is still keeping you locked up in his classy basement, only allowing you into the light to appear on TV and say nice things about Trump, next time blink twice and use the safe word. How about “salad”? 

If you say “salad,” we’ll definitely get the message.

Thank You MJA for the Linkage!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Uncle Joe Biden is At It Again

Politico reports that Joe Biden hosted an event to honor Black History Month at his home at the Naval Observatory Tuesday. Never mind that Tuesday was March 1st and Black History Month is in February. But should we really expect anything but from Joe.

I'm going to miss Joe when he's gone.....

Biden Leads Guest in a Chorus of 'Movin' on Up' in Honor of Black History Month

Why Does the Media Give Trump Three Times More Airtime Than Cruz or Rubio?

According to NewsBusters:
"Once again in February, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted a majority of their Republican primary coverage to Donald Trump, who received three times more attention than his top competitors, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz...." 
Since the start of the campaign, Trump has received a total of 923 minutes of airtime from the three broadcast evening newscasts, or 54 percent of the total GOP coverage. This is more than four times the coverage given to Ted Cruz (205 minutes, or 12% of the total), and six times what Marco Rubio received (139 minutes, or 8%)....."
The media’s saturation coverage of Trump in 2015 made it next-to-impossible for other conservative candidates to become well-known and, on balance, seems to have helped Trump cement his status as GOP frontrunner."
So I say to my many Trump supporter friends who I have heard almost to the person, "We are tired of the media picking our candidate". Well, it looks like that may be just what's happening without realizing it. 

Yeah, Lets Bring Back Dueling!

No doubt, this primary season has not been dull, with all it's accusations and name calling that abound, and nothing less short of character assassinations. Good Times, Good Times.

But these days, there's really no way to fight back against attacks on your personal honor. You can whine like a little girl about them on Facebook, or you can respond with your own twitter jabs, but little else. We've spent centuries tempering our Darwinian instinct to swing our clubs at the heads of anyone who threaten or insult us. This has I guess served society quite well. And yet, I can't help but wonder if the lack of consequence associated with our words and deeds has fed another kind of detrimental vulgarism.

People typically adjust their behavior to the level of risk they face, or so the theory goes. Would Dingy Harry Reid falsely accuse Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes if the latter could challenge the Nevada senator to a duel to regain his good standing? Would a politician question an opponent's faith if that opponent could prove his piousness by shooting the accuser dead? Probably not.

Not that most duels ever ended in bloodshed, mind you. Few could afford a good sword, and early pistols were notoriously inaccurate and unreliable.  Combatants were often represented by a second, a friend, colleague, trusted member of society, or relative, who would diligently negotiate a resolution between the parties to avoid any real violence, and opponents usually wound tying one on together at the local pub.

If it ever got to the fight there were strict set of codified rules that all gentleman must follow. Today, they can’t even follow debate rules. The 'Code Duello', written by a gaggle of Irishmen, contained more than two dozen rules for would-be duelists (for example, the number of shots or wounds that would satisfy honor). Later an American version of dueling etiquette was written called “The Code of Honor; Or Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Duelling.” 

Unlike Europe, where dueling was based on aristocratic honor codes and restricted to men of certain classes, here in egalitarian America, men of all backgrounds could participate in duels. And women would as well. Most famously, in 1792’s “Petticoat Duel,” Lady Almeria Braddock challenged Mrs. Elphinstone after the latter said some unflattering words about the former’s age. The two dueled in Hyde Park, first with pistols before taking up swords to settle the matter. To the sadness of their husbands, both survived.

Andrew Jackson himself supposedly participated in six duels with much success. And no less an American hero, young Abraham Lincoln was almost involved in a duel before honor was restored. Is Donald Trump a more honorable man than Abe Lincoln? I think not!

Right now, the leading candidate in the GOP race is celebrated by his fans for his vulgarity and eagerness to attack the dignity of others. People confuse this incivility, and he's not alone, as a statement against political correctness. It isn't. That would entail using ideological or cultural rhetoric that others have deemed morally unacceptable. Not calling a rival candidate a “pussy. Yet, the more personal and boorish his invective gets, the more Trump fans are awe-struck.  

I think we can all agree dueling could be a much-needed corrective. No?

Now, please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying violence IS the answer. I'm saying violence is AN answer. Because sometimes a witty retort on Twitter simply can't recapture your lost honor. Dueling would confer consequences onto all the ugly, dishonest, uncouth, untrue, and defamatory things people say about you or your family. Yes, some politicians might be struck down if we allowed this ancient combat to reemerge in contemporary society. But I'm sure that's a sacrifice most of us would be willing to make.

And if it came down to a duel during the general election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I'd have to put 20 bucks on Trump. He'd have a much wider target to shoot at then she would......

Sources -
Project Gutenberg 
Mental Floss