Rumor and Innuendo

Some thoughts on political rumor and innuendo.

Even since the Democrats Presidential race came down to two candidates, the rumors and innuendo have run rampant over the Internet. I’ve received dozens of blatantly false emails purporting to be true in order to discredit, smear and maligned the candidate. The false accusations have attacked both Barrack Obama and Hillery Clinton.

What is disappointing to me is that many people forward these pieces of junk to their litany of email friends without checking the facts, without any thought of the harm they are doing and the false witness they are spreading.

I won’t repeat the allegations, because even if there were a shred of truth in them, some investigative reporter would have checked it out long ago. Rumor and innuendo, however they are spread, always belie the truth with a fetid falsity of illusion’s fiction.

Back during the Franklin Roosevelt administration some of his opponents spread rumors that his democrats plundered the gold in Fort Knox to pull the country out of the depression.

In 1953, President Eisenhower was pressured to have the gold counted. When the last bar was tabulated, it was short of what was supposed to be there. Ten dollars short.

Just to even up the books, Mrs. Georgia Clark, the long time treasurer of the United States, sent the government a personal check for ten dollars to cover the missing funds
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The rumor went away. In this time of resurging election rhetoric how many more rumors would go away if all of us did more checking and less gossip?

Law and Life

We often call ourselves a “nation of laws.” What it means officially, is that we collectively agree to follow specific sets of rules in order for our society to function fairly, honorably and routinely in life and through mercantile exchange.

Under this banner we do not say that all laws are perfect, absolute or immutable. What is right and just for one generation, may not be so for the next, or the next, for attitudes, requirements, conditions and values change.

The founding fathers provided a framework wherein changes through the will of the people are to be made peacefully by a representative democracy, applying the art of compromise and compassion. We are the only nation on Earth that has made the legal process an art form and who calls that art, the practice of law.

What we might choose to do now is to simplify the understanding and the administration of law so that timely adjudication does not get bound up in a complex bureaucratic system that often requires more money than sense to get a resolution.

Bretton Woods

New Hampshire is a gentle state. Unassuming, and bountifully peaceful. A leisurely ride along U.S. 302 through the White Mountain National Forest underlines that sense of peace and punctuates it with a tiny bit of history. It is called Bretton Woods. It was there in a rambling summer resort back in July of 1944, that 44-nations met to plan for the post-world War II economic recovery.

The Mount Washington Hotel where the conference took place is still a thriving resort today. It’s wraparound veranda frames the magnificent Mount Washington and other peaks in the Presidential Range.

Financial leaders, back then, talked, an negotiated and discussed and simplified, a way to make international monetary policies fair and workable following the expense of World War Two. The conference lasted 20-days.

The Bretton Woods accord basically created a system of fixed exchange rates. The value of the Dollar was set a $35 per oz of gold. All other currencies were pegged to the dollar and respective countries were obliged to maintain their currencies value.

The agreement maintained an economic stability for twenty years, but eventually hugh balance of payments deficits shook its foundation and finally in 1971 President Nixon ended it by cutting the link between the dollar and gold.

The arrangement was so successful, 15 years after its collapse many economists and politicians today long for a return to Bretton Woods.

We’ve Lost Our Common Sense

I’ve always thought teaching was the noble profession. I still do, but I have second thoughts when I read about some of the things happening in our schools these days.

There was a teenager in a Texas classroom that was suspended for two days for taking a cell phone call from his Dad who is serving in Iraq. The school has a policy of not allowing students to use cell phones in class. Apparently a teacher saw him answering his cell phone as he walked out of class and the kid was punished by suspension for two days.

Where is the common sense of the Copperas Cove High School authorities?

All of us understand the need for rules, but some rules must have exceptions and this was one of them. If school authorities cannot see that rigid intolerance belies learning then they ought not be in education for when the absolute becomes rigid, learning suffers.

Other examples: One school has a rule of no tactical exchanges between students. One little girl hugged another because she heard the other child’s Mother had just died. The kid was briefly suspended from school.

A few years ago the school board in Altoona, Pennsylvania had a policy allowing historical or religious documents to be displayed for 25 days in the school building.

The Ten Commandments was the first posting.

The caveat was that no document could show disrespect to an individual, ethnic group or religion.

Then the school board learned that the Baha’i faith, Wicca, atheism and gay rights history were to be displayed, they quickly voted unanimously to stop considering documents for display.

Rather than take away the words or images and icons of various beliefs, because they are controversial. Rather than hide them in textbooks on dusty shelves, perhaps the school board should have considered festooning the school with many documents as they walls could hold. And while they’re at it, hang the paintings and pictures of the great teachers from many beliefs.

Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, Vishnu, Gandhi, Zoroaster, Chief Seattle, Buddha and many more. Our children need examples of inspiration, not intolerance and fear.