Daily Archives: May 8, 2012

Scott Brown The Great Distractor

The Boston Globe produced an almost balanced story for once in its article, Dems hit Brown on student loan vote, fundraising.

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown joined other Senate Republicans Tuesday to derail a Democratic bill aimed at keeping interest rates on federal college loans from doubling July 1, prompting criticism from Democrats in his home state who said he was hurting middle-class families.
Tuesday’s vote was 52-45 in favor of starting debate on the Democratic legislation — eight votes shy of the 60 needed to move the bill forward.

College kids are drowning in debt while Scott Brown is following the Republican party line and will not allow a debate on the Democrats proposal for keeping college loan rates at their current level. It’s not whether or not he is for or against the Democrat’s proposal. He does not even want to allow debate on it.

Brown claims he would prefer a bipartisan solution, but he does not want to hold a debate so as to arrive at one.

How many times does Brown have to slap the voters of Massachusetts in the face before they get the point that he doesn’t really care for them that much?

The Massachusetts Republican and the state’s Democratic Party also traded jabs over his fundraising efforts in New York City and his call for his chief Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, to release law school applications and personnel files from the universities where she’s taught.
In calling for Warren to release her law school applications and university personnel files, Brown said he wanted to settle questions about her claims of Native American ancestry.

Apparently Scott Brown thinks the people of Massachusetts can be distracted from the life and death issues that affect their lives to concentrate on whether or not Elizabeth Warren should have mentioned her Native American heritage or should have kept it a secret.

I guess the Republicans think they can still stick it to the Native American population and get away with it. It would serve them right if they were all banned from the Native American owned casinos.

My grand parents told me of their flight from Russia in the early 1900s to the safety of the United States. With their frequent bedtime stories of their travails in coming to this country and getting a family started, and their descriptions of bringing their parents to this country, too, I believe that I have a Russian-Jewish heritage.

My granddaughter never got to meet my grandparents, so is she to assume that the stories about our Russian-Jewish heritage should be treated as so much fiction unless I can produce solid evidence of that heritage?

What should my granddaughter make of her Native American heritage that she inherited through my wife? After all, all she will ever know about it is what Sharon’s great-grandfather wrote in his brief autobiography.  Should we keep this a secret for fear of offending Scott Brown?

Chen Guangcheng’s Blind Injustice

The Daily Beast article Chen Guangcheng’s Blind Injustice provides more details about the controversy possibly being manufactured by the US press as discussed in my previous post Lukewarm US Support of Chinese Dissident – My Donkey.

In The Daily Beast article, one of the paragraph that touches on the issue states:

After six intense days of negotiations, a deal was struck. Chen and his family would stay in China but relocate to the coastal city of Tianjin, where he could study law—something I knew he’d always dreamed of—and authorities would leave him alone. Chen emerged from the embassy, smiling, in a wheelchair. Photographers captured him hugging burly U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and holding hands with Ambassador Gary Locke. Clinton, who had just arrived in Beijing for the talks, praised the deal as one reflecting “his choices and our values.” Later, though, after things started to unravel, Chen told me that he “felt pressured to leave the embassy.” (A senior U.S. official denied that any pressure had been exerted and said Americans had begun to make contingencies for a “long-term occupancy,” discussing precedents such as the case of Hungarian Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, a political prisoner during the Stalinist era who sought and was granted asylum in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest and lived there for 15 years.)

You might interpret this paragraph as giving some support to the attitude taken by The Boston Globe.  At least The Daily Beast article gives you some context as to what the US officials are saying that might give you pause in  accepting the Globe’s take.  Still the article uses the snippet of a quote “felt pressured to leave the embassy” without explicitly stating where Chen felt the pressure was coming from.  Why can’t anybody specifically say that Chen felt pressured by US officials, if, in fact, that is what he thought?

Are people reporting this story using carefully selected words from conversations with Chen in order to give us a clear picture of the subtle meaning, or are they using these carefully chosen words to obscure the meaning?  I do not purport to know the answer to this question, yet.  We may never know the truth beyond a reasonable doubt.

Soon the doubt will fade in people’s minds, and they will begin to think that they know for sure what happened.  This brings me back to one of my favorite quotes:

Mark Twain
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”


Analysis: Mitt Romney gaining little from secret meetings with voters

The article posted on the CBS News web site, Analysis: Mitt Romney gaining little from secret meetings with voters, talks about a heretofore little known aspect of the Romney campaign.

Mitt Romney has been running a vast focus group for months. He says that almost every day during his campaign he has secretly sat down with three or four families who are being hurt by Obama’s economy to learn what their lives are like.

If Romney actually starts the conversation by asking a question like, “How have you been hurt by the Obama economy?”, then you know he is not actually looking for information.  When a supposed poll asks you a leading question like this, then it is called a push poll.  The push comes from the idea that the poll is really trying to push an idea onto you rather than trying to pull an answer from you.

Be that as it may, if we go along with the premise of the article that the purpose of these interviews is actually to find answers to questions, my response to the article was:

Romney does not seem to give any indication of understanding how the policies of the previous administrations put these people into the financial mess that they are in.

He doesn’t explain how bringing back these same policies is now going to cure the problems that they initially created.

The press does not seem to know how to put these questions to Romney. You would think they would be curious to know the answers. The readers certainly would like to know the answers even if the reporters don’t seem to have an ounce of curiosity.

When interviewing a progressive candidate, the press seems to be quite happy to phrase a “question” of the form “You opposition says [put in your favorite ridiculous accusation], how do you respond to that?”

In talking to Romney, I never hear them ask, “Your opponent says that the exact policies you are promoting are the ones that caused the current economic recession, how do you respond to that?”