Michael Gerson: “Defending the word ‘retard’ is not heroic”

Former George W. Bush presidential speech writer Michael Gerson has come out strongly in a recent op-ed against the use of the “r-word” in our commonly used dialectic.

The media is least attractive when it offers the pretense of fairness to cover a desire for self-serving controversy.

Professor Christopher Fairman of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University takes to The Post today to defend the word “retard” against taboo, censorship and other forms of social repression. He argues that the r-word must be rescued from the terrible fate of the f-word. Even the n-word has “varied and evolving uses.”

Defending the r-word is not the protection of free expression; it is the defense of bullies.

There is a long tradition of religious and and moral reflection on the words we choose to speak. According to the Hebrew scriptures, “Death and life are in power of the tongue.” Jesus of Nazareth argued, “It is not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

Epithets gain and lose currency. Which means that standards of morality, respect and tact must be constantly reapplied in new circumstances — not that all standards should be abandoned entirely.

What the Special Olympics is proposing is not government censorship, it is social stigma. In this case, such stigma is a sign of moral maturity.

I have signed the pledge at www.r-word.org. I hope you do as well.

I also encourage you to sign the Special Olympics pledge against using the derogatory label “retard” against any person for any reason.

I would also challenge any person of any variety of partisan politics, which includes myself as well, to try and refrain from personal attacks and all statements that most people would honestly agree is a simple lack of “standards of morality, respect and tact” as Gerson describes it.

Chris Wallace and Fox News are Lying to You

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(Image: The Osterley Times)

Chris Wallace and The FOX Broadcasting Company have proven to me personally that not only do they work in a direct effort to both intentionally under-report and under-disclose vital information to the stories they cover, but also to outright lie in the name of presenting their case.

Wallace attempted to defend the ACORN slander artist, James O’Keefe III, by repeating false claims that have irrefutable evidence stating otherwise.

As is the par for the course, nobody cares to speak out against these truth-spinners and defenders of McCarthyism in the US.

MediaMatters.org has covered the story far better than I ever could hope to, but I think it needs to be understood that when Fox News reports via Megyn Kelly that O’Keefe and Giles were in fact asked to leave ACORN offices, while O’Keefe and Giles have previously denied these claims on the air of FOX News, it is the obvious responsibility of Chris Wallace to inform you of this lack of credibility native to these people along with any other claims or assertions he would like to make.

That failure to report this information, and the failure of FOX News to hold their employees responsible, is an affront to American democracy as much as it is to journalism in the modern age. If these people continue to lie to the public there may need to be some serious consideration made toward the goal of civilly disrupting and peacefully dismantling an agency dedicated to spreading misinformation, racist sentiments and un-American propaganda.

This video is pertaining to another matter entirely but I draw your attention to the FOX News-ticker at approximately 2:10 in this clip:

.. Carter, who said racism accounts for most criticism of Obama, but says “That’s not what’s driving” Obama’s detractors ..

Words are important. To lie about the words of a former United States President, even in a cable news-ticker, is an insult to this nation and there is no doubt to me that this is far from some minor accident.

Look carefully at that sentence.

The whole statement is designed to make Jimmy Carter look like he is talking in circles, when in fact the Fox News organization is using their own language “most criticism” to put words in Carter’s mouth. A shameful and un-American thing to do, in my view.

Now look carefully at Carter’s actual quote:

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,

Carter was quite clear and not all ambiguous like the false and downright slanderous “Fox News-version” of events.

The words are “intense animosity“, not “criticism“. And “overwhelming portion“, not “most“.

Jimmy Carter can defend himself. I will not dissect every angle of this for the sake of this singular posting.

I am simply saying you look at the words someone spoke for what they are. Not twist them around until they say what you want them to say.

And it amounts to a simple, and for some hard to accept, fact:

Fox News appears to be in the business of promoting and advocating for racist ideals in the U.S.

Until I see clear examples of the end of their unwillingness to accurately report on fabricated-scandals like ACORN, the controversy over Jimmy Carter’s words or something to the issue of finally questioning the wisdom in keeping an avowed racist like Glenn Beck on the payroll, I see no reason to think or say otherwise.

There are some good people who work at Fox News. But there are good people who work at the IRS, too.

Doesn’t mean they’re not working in a cesspool.

Panetta versus Cheney

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CIA Director Leon Panetta is quoted as saying in regards to the recent Cheney media appearances:

“It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

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Former Vice-President Dick Cheney has responded by saying he hopes Panetta was misquoted in claiming his wish for an attack.

Panetta is absolutely right. The shameful, hawkish media-tour to promote torture policy and degrade the Obama presidency should be met with even more harsh words than these of Panetta’s. But they will do for the time being.

Caps-Lock Engaged America

“populist outcry”

“socialist agenda”

“economic outrage”

We are hear these words connected in the Big Buzz of the Media, lately.

We live in a state of economic chaos. Right now, today.

As an internet-blogger I call this state we exist in “Caps-Lock Engaged America.”

My need to translate everything into internet terminology is no doubt why I prefer this way of describing the current state of affairs in America.

These pundits and talk show hosts of the right wing seek to drum up fear in the public, nothing more.

In the absence of logical arguments they simply wish their audiences to suspend all logic and proceed to believe in conspiracies.

The left wing is busying itself with AIG-Hate while shunning these new Populists as madmen and radicals. We are neither.

These are the very same kind of ‘madmen’ and ‘radicals’ who helped to form the Democratic Party of our day, but I digress.

There is no shame in being upset. But direct your anger.

President George W. Bush spent this country broke as if it was his personal play-thing to abuse and mistreat as he would.

One of the primary functions of a President of the United States of America is to be a Steward of the American Economy.

The previous President not only failed in this, he failed so miserably that his actions in this area specifically are in fact criminal.

President Bush had an obligation to use his position to inform America of the coming recession. Yet he joined in the chorus of conservatives who claimed all was well in the economic seas.

The ’proper’ blame doesn’t stop there.

The major leaders of financial institutions, those chairing relevant boards and countless figures in the media all failed in this exact same respect. 

These individuals had a duty to the American public to inform them of an impending crisis that would directly effect their home life and personal budget.

These individuals knowingly withheld information from investors and consumers in a clear effort to destroy any chances we had at mitigating the coming storm.

Some moved funds into bonds instead of stocks. Some transferred funds into foreign currencies. Some bought precious metal portfolios.

But many more simply did not know or would not listen to those like myself who warned of this coming American Recession.

 

Eric Lightborn

http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com

March 29th 2009

R.I.P. Harold Pinter

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The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law,” Pinter said in his Nobel lecture, which he recorded rather than traveling to Stockholm.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?” Harold asked, in a hoarse voice.

http://www.alan.com/2008/12/27/rip-harold-pinter-did-he-hate-who-we-are-or-what-we-did/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_obit_pinter

One more great man has passed on. We hardly knew ye Harold. Let your words and your writings live on by the generations behind you.

Eric Lightborn
http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com
December 28th 2008