Sunday, March 1, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: March 1, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
"In America, we believe that a lifetime of hard work and responsibility should be rewarded with a shot at a secure, dignified retirement. … we’ve got more work to do to make sure that our recovery reaches more Americans, not just those at the top. That’s what middle-class economics is all about—the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
-- President Barack Obama, February 28, 2015, during the weekly presidential address.

Comment: These remarks by Obama on fairness seem to involve either platitudes or "Americans want" rhetoric.

"Comparing the events of today to the events of 1000 years ago, how does that make sense to any thinking human being?"
-- Pundit Glenn Beck, February 27, 2015, on his radio show. Beck is referring to remarks made by President Barack Obama in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015.

Comment: Obama didn't "compare" today's Islamic terrorists with the Christian Crusaders, at least not in the sense of equating the two. Rather, he said that if the former violence shows that Islam is fundamentally violent, then the latter violence proves the same about Christianity. So Beck's accusation is a distortion.

"So, some Mexicans are gonna be given yet another chance to stay in the US. They're gonna be offered a chance to return and have their deportation hearing reheard. Opening the borders has one explicit purpose, in my mind. The reason why all of this is happening is that this administration and the current Democrat Party and the American left really want to dilute and weaken American culture. That's actually what this is all about, in addition to voter registration. But that's where it leads. You want the voter registration so that you can stay in power, and you want people to vote for you to do what you're gonna do to dilute, water down the American culture: traditions, laws, the economy, everything. And part of the American culture is patriotism. Part of the American culture is rugged individualism. And this American culture, patriotism, individualism, American culture is the enemy of the left. Fourth of July. Remember the story we had, the Harvard survey, about the events featuring the American flag are more beneficial to Republicans and don't help Democrats? Why in the world would that be?"
-- Pundit Rush Limbaugh, February 27, 2015.

Comment: Limbaugh is demonizing Democrats, accusing them of sinister motives in their immigration policy, and saying that they are not "real Americans".

"And imagine if we had a commander-in-chief that understood that the way to defeat ISIS is not to find them a job."
-- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), February 27, 2015.

Comment: This is a distortion – in particular, the "silver bullet" caricature – of the words of State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf. Harf never said jobs were all that was needed to defeat ISIS, in fact she clearly spelled out that military force (among other things) would be used as well.

"Last November, President Obama announced a series of sweeping executive actions on immigration. In doing so, he completely reversed his own opinion. Remember that 22 times the president said he didn't have the authority to do what he eventually did. … I just think it's outrageous that Senate Democrats are using homeland security funding for blackmail to protect the actions of the president, where the president himself said he didn't have the authority to do this."
-- Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), February 26, 2015. Boehner's remarks were in response to Senate Democrats blocking passage of a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (as President Barack Obama and others want) but not the portion of the department that would enact Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Comment: "Blackmail" is essentially "hostage-taking" rhetoric.

[Regarding the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell], in the event that the court strikes down the subsidies as illegal, Congress must be prepared to offer immediate, targeted protection to those hurt by this administration’s reckless disregard for the rule of law. ObamaCare took these patients hostage. Conservatives have a duty to save them.
-- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), February 25, 2015.

Comment: This is "hostage-taking" rhetoric.

"And if you hear people during the course of the future campaigns, over the next several months and into next year, if all they’re doing is demagoging -- if all they’re saying is, “we have to do something about these illegal immigrants,” but then when you ask them, okay, what is it that you want to do, then they don’t have a good answer, or they pretend that we’re going to somehow deport 11 million people, even though everybody knows that the economies of Miami, New York, Chicago, the entire Central Valley in California would collapse -- so they’re not being serious about it -- if you hear people not being serious and not being honest about these issues, then you got to call them on it."
-- President Barack Obama, February 25, 2015, during town hall on immigration.

Comment: This is "demagogue" rhetoric, albeit hypothetical or speculative. Plus, it's a false choice to suggest that you must either deport all 11 million illegal immigrants or legalize them: you could instead do neither.

"One of the things I’ve learned in this position is that as the only office in which you’re the President of all the people, not just some, you have to be thinking not just in terms of short-term politics, you have to be thinking about what’s good for the country over the long term. Now, over the long term, this is going to get solved, because at some point there’s going to be a President Rodriguez, or there’s going to be a President Chin, or there’s going to be a -- the country is a nation of immigrants, and ultimately, it will reflect who we are, and its politics will reflect who we are. And that’s not something to be afraid of. That’s something to welcome. Because that’s always been how we stay dynamic and stay cutting-edge, and have energy and we’re youthful. So what I would say to the next President is: Think ahead. Don’t say something short term because you think it’s politically convenient, and then box yourself in where you can’t do what’s right for the country. Think long term."
-- President Barack Obama, February 25, 2015, during town hall on immigration.

Comment: This sounds like Obama is deriding opponents of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) as being motivated by "short-term" politics rather than legitimate concerns, or thoughts about what's good over the long term. (What about the objection that CIR unfairly gives work permits to immigrants who broke the law ahead of those who are abiding by visas that prohibit their working?) This is a distortion, if not outright demonizing, particularly when Obama says that CIR – and not its opponents – reflects "who we are" as Americans. It sounds like Obama is saying CIR opponents are opposed to immigrants as a whole and aren't "real Americans". Plus, haven't we already had a president with a non-traditional name: "President Obama"?

MR. DIAZ-BALART: Mr. President, I can’t tell you the amount of questions that we’ve received, both on Telemundo and MSNBC, has really been extraordinary. And one I get a lot, over and over and over again, is a question, Mr. President, when you had absolute control of Congress, you really didn’t fight for immigration. And then when you had the situation where you lost majorities, then you take action. Is there political implications behind something that affects so many people so close to their hearts?

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know if anybody remembers, José, that when I took office and I had a majority, we had the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The global economy was collapsing. The unemployment rate in the Latino community and the immigrant community had soared. People were losing homes and entire communities were being devastated. So it wasn’t as if I was just sitting back, not doing anything.

MR. DIAZ-BALART: No one says you were sitting back not doing anything --but you did do the ACA, for example.

THE PRESIDENT: We were moving very aggressively on a whole host of issues. And we moved as fast as we could and we wanted immigration done. We pushed for immigration to be done. But, ultimately, we could not get the votes to get it all done.… I appreciate Mr. Bush being concerned about immigration reform. I would suggest that what he do is talk to the Speaker of the House and the members of his party. Because the fact of the matter is that even after we passed bipartisan legislation in the Senate, I gave the Republicans a year and a half -- a year and a half -- to just call the bill. We had the votes. They wouldn’t do it. And then the notion that, well, if you just hadn’t taken these executive actions, if you hadn’t done DACA, maybe we would have voted for it -- well, that doesn’t make any sense. That’s an excuse.

MR. DIAZ-BALART: Yeah, but they’re saying --

THE PRESIDENT: That’s an excuse.
-- President Barack Obama, February 25, 2015, during town hall on immigration.

Comment: This is an evasion in the form of Obama distorting his own record as president. On May 28, 2008, Obama "guaranteed" that a comprehensive immigration reform bill would be introduced in his first year as president, and on several occasions in 2009 (after becoming president in January of that year, by which time he was well aware of the financial crisis) he reaffirmed that pledge. By the end of 2009, Obama had had ample opportunity to either push a bill or to adopt the position that the flurry of crises at hand prevented him from pushing a bill, yet he did neither. On top of that, the executive actions he has introduced in November 2014 could have been done at any point since January 2009, and without Congress. Why not, in December 2009, say, "Sorry, there's too much going on for me to keep my promise to push immigration reform through the Congress, so instead I'll enact changes by executive order"? So, he hasn't answered the question of why he didn't move on immigration – either in the form of a bill or executive action – years ago. And, if having other priorities is really an excuse for his inaction, then why can't it also be one for Republicans in Congress?

"The bottom line is, José, that I’m using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem. And one of the things about living in a democracy is that we have separation of powers -- we have Congress, we have the judicial branch -- and right now, we’ve got some disagreements with some members of Congress and some members of the judiciary in terms of what should be done. But what I’m confident about is, ultimately, this is going to get done. And the reason it’s going to get done is it’s the right thing to do and it is who we are as a people."
-- President Barack Obama, February 25, 2015, during town hall on immigration. Obama's remarks concerned the effort to legalize the status of immigrants in the country illegally.

Comment: By saying that his efforts on immigration are in line with "who we are as a people", does Obama mean that people who oppose him aren't "real Americans"?

"Now, what we did most recently was to expand that so more people would qualify for DACA, and we also said if you are the parent of a U.S. citizen or a legal resident, if you’ve been here for a while, if you're part of our community, then you should be able to come forward, get registered, go through a background check, and if you generally have been contributing to our community, you should be able to stay here legally and not be in fear of deportation. It did not provide citizenship because only Congress can do that, but it was going to help. And I think we saw the reaction in the community and, the truth is, across the country, people recognized this was the right thing and the smart thing to do. Now, unfortunately, a number of Republican governors chose to sue. They found a district court judge who has enjoined -- meaning stopped -- us going forward with this program. … And in the meantime, what we said to Republicans is, instead of trying to hold hostage funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is so important for our national security, fund that, and let’s get on with actually passing comprehensive immigration reform."
-- President Barack Obama, February 25, 2015, during town hall on immigration.

Comment: First, this sounds like "Americans want" rhetoric: did ALL the people across the country recognize that what Obama did was right, or just some of them? Second, Obama is indulging in "hostage-taking" rhetoric.

"The prime minister, as you recall, was profoundly forward leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush, and we all know what happened with that decision. He was extremely outspoken about how bad the interim agreement was during which time he called it the deal of the century for Iran, even though it has clearly stopped Iran's program, and more importantly, he has decided it would be good to continue it. So you know, he's -- I talk to him frequently. We work very, very closely together. We are deeply committed. We, this administration, I think we have done more to help Israel. I have a packet of 25 pages or more of things we have done on behalf of Israel in the course of this administration to stand up for it, stand with it, protect, fight back against unfair initiatives. So we won't take a backseat to anybody in our commitment to the state of Israel, but he may have a judgment that just may not be correct here. And, you know, let's wait and hear what he says. I'm not going to prejudge his statement anymore than he should prejudge this agreement. But when we have heard, if appropriate, I'll respond."
-- Secretary of State John Kerry, February 25, 2015, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of negotiations with Iran concerning Iran's nuclear program.

Comment: This is ad hominem reasoning. If Netanhayu was incorrect in his judgment regarding the Iraq War, how does that prove that he's wrong about negotiations with Iran? Shouldn't the quality of one's argument determine whether or not they're correct? Maybe Netanyahu had a bad argument back then, but now has a good argument. If Kerry was wrong on February 16, 2007, when he said the Iraq Surge would not end violence or rein in militias, does that mean his judgment on negotiations with Iran is also flawed?

Anyone who has watched Obama’s genteel response to his Republican tormentors shouldn’t be surprised at his delicacy about Islam. He resists generalizations and looks for common ground, whether the context is terrorism or domestic politics. No matter what Republicans do—heckle his speeches, impugn his patriotism, shut down the government, threaten a credit default, stage countless votes to repeal his health care law—he refuses to categorically condemn them. … Republicans, determined to block his immigration agenda, were withholding money for the Department of Homeland Security. But Obama said these saboteurs didn’t represent the true GOP: “A large percentage of Republicans agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform.” Instead of using the fight for partisan advantage, Obama spread the blame to his own party. “Republicans and Democrats in Congress should not be playing politics” with the department’s funding, he warned. … That’s how Obama treats his domestic adversaries. He doesn’t take the bait. He doesn’t define the whole opposition party by its worst elements. He rejects polarization. He emphasizes shared values. He reminds his own partisans that they, too, are sinners. For Democrats, this can be exasperating. It’s especially exasperating when Republicans refuse to take responsibility for, or even disown, outbursts from their colleagues, such as Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” or Rudy Giuliani’s “I do not believe that the president loves America.” … Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana backs up Giuliani’s insinuation that Obama favors the enemy over his own country: “[Giuliani] is understandably frustrated with a president who, as I said before, is fully willing to lecture the people of this country about the Crusades but is unwilling to call Islamic extremism for what it is.” Please. If we’re going to start calling out religious and political groups for extremism, we could start at home with Republicans. Too many of them spew animus. Too many foment sectarianism. Too many sit by, or make excuses, as others appeal to tribalism. If Obama were to treat them the way they say he should treat Islam—holding the entire faith accountable for its ugliest followers—they’d squeal nonstop about slander and demagogy. They’re lucky that’s not his style.
-- Pundit William Saletan, February 24, 2015, in an article entitled, "Go Ahead and Say It, Mr. President: Republicans are your true enemy".

Comment: This is the "only my opponent" caricature. Contrary to Saletan's description, President Barack Obama has a long history of derisive generalizations that demonize his opponents (for instance, accusing Republicans of "Social Darwinism", saying that they put party ahead of country, and declaring President George W. Bush to be "unpatriotic" for ringing up $4 trillion in debt). And Obama has routinely failed to condemn fellow Democrats for demonizing Republicans (for instance, Teamsters' President Jimmy Hoffa's "son of a bitches" remarks about the Tea Party movement at a 2011 Labor Day rally at which Obama also spoke). Again contrary to Saletan's account, Obama has also singled out Republicans in Congress (as opposed to Democrats) for blame on any number of issues. In addition, Saletan is using "extremist" rhetoric (in response to Pence's use of it). Finally, Saletan is accusing Republicans of wanting to treat all Muslims as terrorists. Perhaps there are some Republicans who want this (Saletan should name them), but it's certainly not the case that all of them do. Rather, that's an unfair generalization and a straw man, if not outright demonizing.

So, yeah, Kerry has basically set 'em up, Obama set 'em up for the acquisition, if they can pull it off, of a nuclear weapon in ten years. … Yeah. I'm at a loss here. Actually I'm not at a loss. I know exactly, folks, I know exactly why they're doing this. It doesn't make any sense. I'm just telling I know exactly why they're doing it. Obama's worldview is there's no such thing as American exceptionalism. We're not special except in our own minds, just as every other country thinks its special in its own mind, but there's nothing essentially about us better than anybody else. That's a myth. And the idea that we get to determine which nations get nuclear weapons, who the hell are we? We don't have that right, and we never have had, as far as Obama's concerned. That's an example of our imperialism. Us, telling the Iranians, they're just good Muslims, they can't have their own bomb? What right to we have? That's his worldview on this and John Kerry's and every other one of them.
-- Pundit Rush Limbaugh, February 24, 2015, concerning a deal being negotiated between the US and Iran (and others) regarding Iran's nuclear program. US Secretary of State John Kerry, a member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, is part of the negotiations.

Comment: In explaining the move to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons (assuming that the deal actually allows that), is Limbaugh justifying what Obama is doing? Or is explaining different from justifying?

Far from the dire picture painted by the president and his fellow Democrats, 90 percent of the Department of Homeland Security would remain on the job in a partial government shutdown. President Obama and congressional Democrats are offering up doomsday scenarios if the Department of Homeland Security funding authorization expires this Friday. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson implied on the talk shows Sunday morning that efforts to thwart terrorist attacks and assist Americans buried in snow could be imperiled if Republicans keep trying to de-fund the president’s executive action on illegal immigration. Johnson amplified his dire predictions that afternoon before a gathering of the National Governors Association, saying: “[A shutdown] means taking people off the front line and realigning their responsibility.” Not to be outdone, the president issued his own warning in a session Monday before the National Governors Association. A partial government shutdown, he said, would end up suspending pay for more than 100,000 Homeland Security agents, which “will have a direct impact on America’s national security because their hard work helps to keep us safe.” All very interesting, except what they’re saying isn’t true. According to figures from the brief government shutdown last year, the department has 231,117 employees, 31,295 of whom, or 13.5 percent, were furloughed. A closer examination reveals that all essential personnel would remain on the job, from Secret Service agents who protect the president to TSA screeners protecting us in airports and counterterrorism personnel. Looked at another way, 87 percent of Homeland Security personnel were deemed essential and remained at their posts during the last funding impasse between the White House and Congress. Eighty-seven percent. … Obama and his Democrat enablers are Chicken Littles predicting dire harm to the country when they know nothing is further than the truth.
-- Pundit Ron Christie, February 24, 2015, in an article entitled, "Obama Is the Scaremonger-in-Chief".

Comment: Christie is accusing President Barack Obama of fear-mongering, though he is explaining why he believes the fears are unjustified. He is also accusing Obama and Democrats of lying.

Liberals know they are full of it; they just think the rest of us are as foolish as the welfare-guzzling mouth-breathers who vote for them. It’s time for the lies to stop. Liberals, stop lying about the weather. There is no climate change crisis. Whatever changes our climate is undergoing are part and parcel of the natural processes that have been going on since the Earth was formed. … Liberals, stop lying about our war with radical Muslims. This bloodshed isn’t “random.” This isn’t about “violent extremism.” Mass enslavement, mutilation and murder isn’t “workplace violence,” and these semi-human freaks aren’t going to stop if someone hands them a mop, bucket and paycheck. We are at war – war – with radical Islam, and we need to end the lies, the equivocation and dissembling and speak the truth. Our enemies think they are Muslims, and they think the Koran commands their actions. This isn’t about theology – whether their version of Islam is a misunderstanding or misinterpretation is utterly irrelevant. They think they’re pious Muslims even if we, as well as most of the world’s Muslims, disagree. … Well, here’s a conservative who says it’s critical to understand the radical Muslims. We need to fully appreciate how they think, their goals, their ideas, their feelings. Understanding them will help us more effectively hunt down and kill them. … Liberals, stop lying about illegal aliens. They aren’t all hardworking and they aren’t all here because they love America and have dreams and stuff. Some are criminals. Some are bums. None were invited. Their problems are a result of their choices. We owe them nothing. Want out of the shadows? Go home. … Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton. Lena Dunham. Jon Gruber. That woman with the glasses who thinks we should carpet bomb ISIS with want ads. All liberals. All liars. Liberals, stop lying about everything.
-- Pundit Kurt Schlichter, February 23, 2015.

Comment: Schlichter references a lot of different "liberal" words and deeds, too many for me to cover all of what he's said, but here are a few points: first, "welfare-guzzling mouth-breathers" is simply name-calling. It's a slur. Second, is it really true that ALL liberals believe these things? Isn't that a hasty generalization (along the same lines as "all illegal aliens are hard-working"), one that means Schlichter himself is lying? Third, Schlichter gives no evidence for the claim that global warming is natural, and – even if it is – is it really unreasonable to the point of being a lie for someone to believe global warming is man-made? Fourth, notice that Schlichter points out that we need to understand (though not justify) terrorism, and that noting the Islamic affiliation of many terrorists is a key part of understanding them (which will in turn help us stop them). Finally, Schlichter is distorting the words of State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf ("That woman with the glasses who thinks we should carpet bomb ISIS with want ads."), using the "silver bullet" caricature. Harf never said jobs were all that was needed to defeat ISIS, in fact she clearly spelled out that military force (among other things) would be used as well.

"Let me just say this. It is fantastic to finally see some people realizing what's going on when the left, the media, keeps going to our candidates, "What do you think about what Rudy said about Obama?" In the first place, Scott Walker is showing everybody how to answer that question, how to answer all those questions. And another thing about this, we're also finally getting people turning it around on 'em. "Hey, why don't you go ask some Democrats what they think of Bill Clinton flying all over the world with a pedophile? Why don't you guys go ask the Democrats what it's like to have to stand up and defend Joe Biden every day." It's always a one-way street. Obama goes out and says some crazy things, apologizes for the country, or Rudy will come out and say, "I don't think he loves the country. Not the way we do." Then the press will go to other Republicans and ask them two things, to condemn Rudy and to validate Obama. … But it never works the other way. … And finally there's some people now pointing out the right way to do this. Don't answer the question and turn it back on 'em. For example, Scott Walker, this is just an example. He had his own answer to it. He was asked about Obama's Christianity. He said: I don't know. I don't know whether Obama's a Christian. Why are you asking me? Go ask him. It doesn't matter to me whether Obama's a Christian. … Somebody will ask a Republican, "Well, what do you think about Rudy, Rudy insulting Obama, Rudy saying that Obama doesn't love America?" The response is, "You know, I don't remember the last time you guys went around and started asking Hillary if she's very worried about her husband flying all over the world with a pedophile and showing up at the pedophile's homes in New York and Florida. When are you gonna ask Bill Clinton what it's like, when are you gonna ask people in the Democrat Party to defend Bill Clinton for doing this kind of stuff?" … A TV station in Florida, WPBF … They were interviewing Rubio about Giuliani's remarks, and Marco Rubio said, "I don't feel like I'm in a position to have to answer for every person in my party that makes a claim." … This is Rubio: "Democrats are not asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing, so I don't know why I should answer every time a Republican does. I'll suffice it to say I believe the president loves America. I think his ideas are bad.""
-- Pundit Rush Limbaugh, February 23, 2015, discussing the responses by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's remarks that President Barack Obama does not love the country.

Comment: Limbaugh and Rubio (and perhaps Walker) are saying that it is not their job to police civility. Inconsistent treatment on the part of the media when it comes to reporting and condemning unacceptable rhetoric (that is, hypocritically going easy on Democrats and liberals while piling on Republicans and conservatives, such that the latter get hit with guilt by association accusations but not the former) is no excuse failing to repudiate name-calling and invective. The fact that people fail to be consistent in implementing civility doesn't mean civility is bogus.

"This is exactly what we have to get away from in our politics. We have to find a way to disagree without disqualifying each other as Americans."
-- David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, February 23, 2015.

Comment: Axelrod is calling for a higher standard of debate, but he apparently didn't spell out any specifics of what that means in practice, nor did he apologize or take responsibility for any acts of uncivil debate on his part or the part of the Obama administration.

"You want to know how to take all the wind out of the sails of the Sovereign Citizens? Obey the Constitution."
-- Pundit Glenn Beck, February 23, 2015. The Sovereign Citizen movement believes that much of the federal government is intrusive and acting beyond what the United States Constitution allows. Prior to Beck's remarks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had cited the movement as being a major domestic terrorism threat.

Comment: Notice that Beck is suggesting an explanation for the (sometimes violent) actions of members of the Sovereign Citizen movement: they have a grievance, in that they believe that the Constitution is being disobeyed in a way that reduces our freedoms. While Beck agrees with that grievance, he did not justify their violent actions. Explaining is not justifying, and saying that someone has a grievance (even a legitimate one) is not the same as defending anything they do in the name of that grievance.

Many were left flat-footed and with jaws dropped after the president’s remarks at the recent National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, where he let the Islamic terrorists know that he is keeping their actions in context. Obama felt compelled to equate today’s Islamic terrorist butchers to the Christian Crusaders of 900 years ago. It was just another example of how the president appears willing to try to understand — if not justify — the actions of those who hate America. When the president is slow to condemn our enemies, it raises doubts about what he really thinks of their case against America.
-- Pundit Ed Rogers, February 23, 2015. Rogers is referring to remarks made by President Barack Obama in his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015.

Comment: First, Obama didn't equate (or, "compare") today's Islamic terrorists with the Christian Crusaders: rather, he said that if the former violence shows that Islam is fundamentally violent, then the latter violence proves the same about Christianity. So Rogers' accusation is a distortion. Second, trying to understand terrorist acts against America can simply be an effort to explain and predict terrorism, and need not be the same as justifying terrorism. Explaining is not the same as justifying., and Rogers is demonizing Obama to suggest otherwise. (Also, isn't pointing out the Islamic affiliation of many terrorists – as Rogers does – an effort to explain, understand, and/or predict terrorist acts, yet without justifying them?)

GLENN BECK: You're not going to win by bombing them, you're not going to win from the air.

PAT GRAY: No, we're going to win by giving them jobs.

STU BURGUIERE: And a three-day summit.

BECK: You cannot fight an enemy like World War Two, or an enemy like we have in ISIS, by saying, "We're gonna hug it out. We're gonna give you a job."
-- Pundits Glenn Beck, Pat Gray, and Stu Burguiere, the week of February 23-27, 2015, on the Glenn Beck Radio Program.

Comment: This is a distortion – in particular, the "silver bullet" caricature – of the words of State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf. Harf never said jobs were all that was needed to defeat ISIS, nor did President Barack Obama's administration say that the three-day summit on terrorism would be sufficient. Harf and Obama have clearly stated that military force (among other things) would be used as well. The idea that the Obama administration has suggested "hugging it out" is just another caricature.

BORGER: … we have asked lots of potential presidential candidates this week about Rudy Giuliani's comments. Some of them have disowned them, for example, Jeb Bush. Some of them, like Scott Walker, refused to comment. Yesterday, he told "The Washington Post" he wasn't sure if the president was a Christian. And then his press secretary had to clean that up a little bit. Don't you think Republican presidential candidates, who are blindsided by this, I admit, but don't you think they have to come out there and say what they believe about what Rudy Giuliani said directly? You need to do that?

PATAKI: I think -- I think, when you're asked the question, you have to answer it.


PATAKI: Yes, I think what he said was wrong. But I am -- I think it was wrong. But what I understand is that Rudy and I saw the horrible consequences of looking the other way because radical Islamic terror was thousands of miles across the world. And we saw the thousands of people, many of whom both of us knew, die that day. And we saw the courage with which Americans and New Yorkers responded. And it's deep in our bloods. And when we look today and we see them have training camps, we see them have recruiting centers, we see them have social media capability...

BORGER: Right.

PATAKI: ... and our own homeland security secretary coming on and saying we have to use extreme caution going to a mall here, and we have very weak leadership from Washington, I can understand how you get very upset about that. I get upset about it as well.
-- Former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), February 22, 2015, during an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger. The discussion concerned former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's comments the previous week that President Barack Obama didn't love the country.

Comment: Pataki is not evading the question about Giuliani's comments. He is explaining Giuliani's behavior, but explaining is not justifying.

[Regarding the Islamic affiliation of many terrorists] President Obama continues to insist the opposite, pretending that what is true is false, and even suggesting those who are speaking the truth are actually endangering the lives of innocent people. … in its statement the White House avoided saying that the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by members of ISIS were Christian, even though that was the reason they were beheaded. At the same time the president suggested that the murder of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina was because they were Muslim, when in fact that wasn’t by any means clear when the White House issued its statement. … And then there was the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, in which the president and his attorney general constantly spoke about the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson as if race was a factor in the shooting. That assertion is fiction. It was an invention, just as it was an invention to suggest, as the president did back in 2009, that the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley was racially motivated. … Which makes Mr. Obama a truly post-modern president, in which there is no objective truth but simply narrative. Mr. Obama doesn’t just distort the facts; he inverts them. He makes things up as he goes along. … The sheer audacity of Mr. Obama’s multipronged assault on truth is one of the more troubling aspects of his deeply troubling president.
-- Pundit Peter Wehner, February 22, 2015.

Comment: Wehner is arguing that false statements, distortions, and hypocritical double-standards on the part of President Barack Obama prove that Obama doesn't care at all about truth or facts. Does the same standard apply to everyone who says something false or is found guilty of double-standards?

No comments: