Sunday, January 3, 2016

Civility Watchdog Digest: January 3, 2016

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
"We are going to take our country back. We've lost our country. We're going to take it back."
-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, January 2, 2016.

Comment: This is "take back the country" rhetoric.

"Three years ago, a bipartisan, commonsense bill would have required background checks for virtually everyone who buys a gun. Keep in mind, this policy was supported by some 90% of the American people. It was supported by a majority of NRA households. But the gun lobby mobilized against it. And the Senate blocked it."
-- President Barack Obama, January 1, 2016, during the president's weekly address.

Comment: Obama is arguing for this legislation on the basis that it is bipartisan, common-sense, and has popular support.

Donald Trump, who has been the talk of American politics for months, made an appearance of sorts at the Rose Parade.

At least in the sky.

As the parade was ending, a small plane began to fill the sky with puffs of white smoke. At first it spelled "America is Great," but then it continued with a different message: "Trump is disgusting."
-- From a January 1, 2016, story by Richard Winton of The Los Angeles Times.

Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric which perhaps also suggests that Trump is un-American.

Bill Cosby's defence lawyer has called the sexual assault charges brought against the comedian "politically motivated".

Monique Pressley told ABC's Good Morning America that the prosecutor in the case is not seeking justice, but making good on a campaign promise.
-- Attorney Monique Pressley, December 31, 2015, as related in a BBC story.

Comment: Pressley is accusing the prosecutor bringing charges against Cosby of politicizing.

As for Benghazi, she said eight or nine independent investigations have taken place. She also said that as a matter of course, the U.S. sends Americans into dangerous situations. "Reagan sent Marines to Beirut, and we lost hundreds of Marines, and we had our embassy bombed," said Clinton. "It was never made into a political issue."

"There were a lot of useful recommendations, and I accepted every one of them before I left," said Clinton. "I said 'OK let's fix this.'" Republicans have tried to politicize the attacks, and Clinton spent 11 hours testifying before Congress about them.
-- Democratic presidential contender former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from an interview with The Conway Daily Sun published December 30, 2015.

Comment: Clinton is accusing Republicans of politicizing the attack in Benghazi.

Donald Trump is crude and vulgar. He’s every “-ist” in the book: racist, sexist, narcissist, for starters. His dis about Hillary Clinton getting “schlonged” in the 2008 campaign and the accompanying tirade about her “disgusting” bathroom break were weird and juvenile. But he has a point about Clinton playing the “woman’s card,” and about the male behavior that’s more concerning: her husband’s.
-- Pundit Ruth Marcus, December 28, 2015. Marcus was referring to criticisms Trump had made about Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Comment: Marcus is accusing Trump of bigotry, but refusing to use that as an ad hominem argument to dismiss Trump's criticism of Bill Clinton.

The terrorists and demagogues want us to be scared. We mustn’t give in
-- The headline of an opinion piece by George Soros, December 28, 2015.

Comment: This is "demagogue" and "fear-mongering" rhetoric.

We’d be a stronger country, and better people, if we could agree to disagree on the important issues without always challenging one another’s motives or character before retreating to our individual silos with the likeminded.
-- Pundit Ruben Navarrette, December 26, 2015.

Comment: Navarrette is calling for us to set a higher standard of debate.

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