Bernie Sanders’ Non-Promise Promise

Bernie Sanders

Campaign promises are like helium balloons. They’re big, full of gas, and once the party is over, they’re absolutely useless.

Susan Gale

To be fair, it’s very difficult to nail down exactly what constitutes a campaign promise and what does not.

Certainly, it’s a candidate’s job to articulate what policies they propose and will pursue if elected, but VERY rarely do they use the phrase “I promise”, especially in the post-“Read my lips: no new taxes!” era and in these days of the viral interwebs.

Still, this doesn’t stop journalists and pundits and opposition campaign staff from wielding the word “promise” with abandon, hoping to nail someone for breaking their word.

Just googling around briefly before writing this, I found numerous articles with “[candidate] promises” in the headline, and when I read through the articles there is no actual promise to be found.

Certainly, promises can be implied, as it is with the use of the phrase “we will” (rather than “we might” or “we will try to”) in this example, from the candidate to whom I have pledged my support:

“This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change and, as your president, together we will change it.”

Bernie Sanders

Now THAT is a skillful promise, not suggesting he’ll do it all by himself, but rather making it clear that he needs help.

Indeed, Bernie is the only candidate who has actually declared that, if elected, he will not be able to change a damn thing, a non-promise promise, if you will, a promise that sounds ludicrous coming from a candidate for President of the United States of America … unless you listen to exactly what he said, in context.

This video of Bernie Sanders making his non-promise promise has already been widely seen, it’s very likely the shortest video clip I’ve ever posted, but it may be the truest message I’ve ever posted, more than justifying the choice.

 

Headlines of the Day: The Cognitive Dissonance Of Bernie Sanders Media Coverage

headache-smileyStunning, headache-inducing dissonance in these two headlines from two liberal-leaning online publications today:

Bernie Sanders is in big trouble: You don’t have to be a neoliberal shill to see the cold, hard facts

Salon

Yes, Polling Trajectory Shows Bernie Sanders Defeating Hillary Clinton and Winning the Democratic Nomination

Huffington Post

Cognitive Dissonance Hurts My Brain

headache-smileyNot much else to say about this, other than what my post title suggests.

The cognitive dissonance in a piece this morning at NPR.org hurts my brain (emphasis added by me in bold):

A vigil was held in Roseburg, Ore., last night, hours after a man killed nine people at the local community college. Investigators say the man behind Thursday’s shooting is also dead — and the local sheriff says he’ll never say that man’s name in public. Seven people were wounded in the attack.

“I will not give him the credit he probably sought, prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” Sheriff John Hanlin said in a briefing about the shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Hanlin later told CNN that he doesn’t want “to glorify his name or his cause.”

The alleged gunman is 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, who lived in a town near Roseburg, a logging community with around 22,000 residents.

Headline of the Day: Keeping It Real

starbucks-pumpkin-spice-latteIt’s hard to know where to start with today’s Headline of the Day installment, so let’s just start with the headline itself and see where that takes us, shall we?

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is now going to contain real pumpkin and it’s probably going to be disgusting

Salon.com

Listen, don’t hold anything back, Salon.com writer Lindsay Abrams! We can tell that you have strong feelings about this. That’s good. Maybe, even, as good as … real pumpkin?

I guess I’ve been out of the loop, but I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!, to learn that there’s never been, until this fall, actual pumpkin in Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Ok, so, I’m not really shocked. Nor am I particularly bothered by the fact that there hasn’t been real pumpkin in the lattes.

After all, the phrase “pumpkin spice”, to me, very clearly refers to the spices associated with the most famous pumpkin dish of all: pumpkin pie. Pumpkin, by itself, isn’t really all that flavorful. I doubt very many people even consume real pumpkin without spices of some kind, whether it’s sweet, like pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, or savory, like pumpkin soup or pumpkin ricotta gnocchi.

I don’t really understand attacking Starbucks — a company that is certainly attack-worthy for other reasons — for adding real pumpkin. She brands it “pandering to an ingredient-crazed consumer base”, but it’s not like this ingredient-crazed consumer base is clamoring for more artificial ingredients!

Now, Lindsay Abrams, who I might say is overall a solid writer who covers other topics, such as politics and the environment, makes a fair point about just how little real pumpkin will actually be in a Pumpkin Spice Latte. She includes the list of ingredients published by Starbucks, where “pumpkin purée” is listed as just one sub-ingredient in the “Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce”, which is the third overall ingredient on the list, after espresso and milk.

And yet, she loses credibility with her sarcastic addition of a photo of the pulpy inside of a pumpkin, calling it disgusting, either ignoring, or ignorant of, the fact that the flesh of the pumpkin, not the pulp, is what’s used in pumpkin purée, and that purée, by it’s very nature, has a smooth, creamy texture, perfect, right?!, for a latte.

All in all, much ado about nothing, and embarrassingly, I suppose I’ve merely added to the ado.

I can’t wait to wash down my shame with a delicious, real Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Headline of the Day: Christian Freakishness?

jesusThere’s an utterly fascinating article right now at The Atlantic, that also happens to be worthy of a Headline of the Day installment…

….for this headline certainly caught my attention:

The Freakishness of Christianity

The Atlantic

It’s a thought-provoking introduction to ideas put forth by Christian evangelical theologian Russell D. Moore in his new book Onward, ideas that I find encouraging, however skeptical I might remain.

First, a quick detour: My earliest memory of the use of the term “freak” as a non-pejorative noun was when I heard David Crosby‘s CSN&Y song Almost Cut My Hair, from the 1970 album Déjà Vu.

Crosby sings:

I feel like letting my freak flag fly

…and I didn’t really understand it at first.

But, as I became more and more interested in hippie culture, listening to more music, reading books, and watching films on the subject, I eventually got it, and I LOVED it.

While I never felt the need to label myself a freak or hippie or overtly dress the part, I certainly related to the 1960s & 1970s counterculture’s rejection of conservatism’s sense of superiority, its judgement of others, and its capacity for hatred. As result, I’ve always had a very healthy inner-hippie.

Back to the Atlantic article, it’s interesting to discover that there’s a prominent evangelical Christian leader who seems to have come to some of the same conclusions, proposing the idea that Christianity’s marriage with American conservatism is ready for a divorce.

This is not an assimilated, salable Christianity. If anything, it troubles the anodyne, dog-whistle-y “values” rhetoric that Moore rejects. It calls for politicians to be committed to living out Christianity beyond the breath it takes to utter “God bless America.”…

And inevitably, it undermines Bible Belt identity, which has long depended on pairing God with guns and Republican politics. Not to worry, Moore says: “The Bible Belt was no Promised Land.”

Right on!

I’m still troubled by the whole idea of evangelism, and I’d much rather all religions evolved away from doctrines of proselytization.

And, while this sounds incredibly exciting:

Moore is making an argument for embracing Christian strangeness. “Our message will be seen as increasingly freakish to American culture,” he writes. “Let’s embrace the freakishness, knowing that such freakishness is the power of God unto salvation.”

…it’s decidedly odd language coming from a guy who looks like this:

russell-moore

Still, to judge Moore by his appearance is shallow and utter hypocrisy on my part.

So, I’ll let that go, and I’ll hold out hope that some good may come from his ideas.

If My Home Is Ever Raided By The FBI, Can I Be Treated Like Jared?

jared-eating-subwayWhether it’s white privilege, our country’s soft-on-white-collar-crime tendencies, or something else entirely, in all my years of reading the news I’ve never seen anything like the softball coverage of the FBI raid on the home of now-former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

Oh, it starts off alright, getting directly to what you’d think the point would and should be:

NEW YORK — Subway said Tuesday it mutually agreed with Jared Fogle to suspend their relationship after the home of the chain’s longtime pitchman was raided by federal and state investigators.

But then…the article continues for another 730 words over 19 more paragraphs reading more like a Wikipedia entry on the history of the Jared-Subway ad campaign, never mentioning the FBI — much less mentioning that the raid was tied to a child pornography investigation — until paragraph 18!

It goes from that appropriate opening paragraph right into:

The separation was jarring because the 37-year-old everyman has become a familiar face around the world. To many, he’s known simply as “the Subway guy” who shed a massive amount of weight by eating the chain’s sandwiches. His story is perhaps the biggest reason for Subway’s image over the years as a healthy place to eat.

“That story played a huge role in (Subway’s) growth,” said Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at Technomic, a market research firm. “It’s not just Jared the man, it’s what it represents.”

See, there’s something terribly wrong when a celebrity receives this kind of treatment, while ordinary John & Jane Doe will simply be reported as suspects in a child pornography ring and appropriately scrutinized by investigative journalists who recognize that child pornography, not “play[ing] a huge role” in the growth of a corporation, is the actual story.

Yes, I’m talking to you, Associated Press, source of the article quoted above, and you, Washington Post, with your article titled:

Why Jared Fogle was — and still might be — the perfect Subway spokesman

…and you, Los Angeles Times, with yours, titled:

The Subway guy: How Jared Fogle went from overweight student to cultural icon

…as if there weren’t any possibility that the title of the story might actually end up being:

The Subway guy: How Jared Fogle went from overweight student to cultural icon to child pornographer

Of course, very few details are known at this time, but instead of holding off reporting further until more information is available, there are all of those column inches to fill!

Ugh.

Headline of the Day: Wordy & Grim

AP-FOXOne slight problem with doing this Headline of the Day series: When the original source of a news item is a wire service, such as Associated Press or Reuters, and the item has been posted to a news website that has a wire service subscription, there’s no real way of knowing who has written the actual headline that has caught my attention.

In the case of today’s Headline of the Day installment, FOX News.com posted the item, which they got from Associated Press, and though we’ll never know who wrote the headline, one thing we do know is that the writer was intent on fitting in all of grim details of the story, in one of the longest headlines I’ve ever seen:

Man who hit pedestrian and drove with him stuck in car’s windshield sentenced to prison

Fox News.com