Sunday, April 29, 2012

Widespread inference

Obama has run up against the boundary of language, leaving him open to widespread inference. He declared he was in favor of “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion.” His choice of words doomed him up to criticism-by-inference. Santorum and other Christian conservatives immediately charged that “he’s against freedom of religion” and “he’s declaring war on religion.” Collateral inferences followed, confirming widespread suspicion of his Christian faith and fears that he’s a practicing Muslim. Now religious leaders are saying “he’s robbing us of our right to practice religion freely without fear of persecution from the state.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ordinary misinterpretation

Hard to be neutral without coming across as partial and perhaps even disloyal. I remember in 2008 my father asking me “Bill, who do you think will be the next president ..?” I interpreted this as a request for information and, thinking back to some poll results, replied “Looks like Obama” He reacted with disgust and terminated our conversation. Since then he looks at me with suspicion and considers me an Obama fan with liberal views. He swiftly ends our discussions with “I know exactly where you’re coming from, Bill” and calls me a “behaviorist” ..which is a polite way of calling me a “socialist”. I’ve been an independent all my life. I think I see where I went wrong though. He wasn’t asking for an independent assessment my answer appeared more like a preference than an forecast. He’s been that way all his life. When he asks me which team I think will win a football game ..he’s never looking for the answer that an odds-maker would give. Today I’m reading where Obama’s adversaries are accusing him of “appeasement to Iran” in response to his handling of Israel’s saber rattling. I may be going out on a limb here but I think I’m beginning to see a built-in tendency to interpret straightforward answers as prejudice bordering on disloyalty.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Obama's fallacy

Obama accused the Supreme Court of ‘judicial activism’ (unfairness) for questioning the constitutionality of a law that he says, “was passed by a majority of a democratically elected Congress.” This is a false accusation and he knows it. He is relying on listeners to agree with the tacit premise that “if it was decided by elected officials it must be constitutional.” However, this is a misleading. Just because a majority rallies behind a law does not mean it complies with the Constitution. That’s why we have a Supreme Court make sure our constitutional rights aren’t overtaken by mob rule.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The case of Nathan Fletcher

Today I read about the case of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego). He co-sponsored a bill with Governor Jerry Brown that even Republican lawmakers thought was a good idea. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next. The bill would eliminate tax loopholes for companies that did business in California ..but operated outside of California. The money was to be used to lower taxes on businesses that did operate inside the state. The intent was to make it more interesting for other businesses to locate their operations in California and create jobs. Then the same Republicans who said they’d support the bill, defeated it in the Senate. Astonished, Nathan asked them why and they replied “It may be the right thing to do, but we can't let Jerry Brown get a win.” This was a tipping point in Nathan’s career. A young, articulate legislator who had the potential to lead the Republican party ..he bolted and became an Independent. I think it’s hypocritical and downright duplicitous for the party that preaches meritocracy to oppose good ideas just because they come from someone else. What it shows me is that they’re really playing favorites and not making choices based on merit at all.