Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Handcuffs" Ravenstahl Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Pair of Handcuffs

Despite hordes of developments in the Ravenstahl arrest story (which some have taken to calling "Taking-One-For-Team-Gate"), I didn't post anything new yesterday. This was largely intentional on my part. My previous post, which pointed out that Interim Mayor Luke "Handcuffs" Ravenstahl lied to reporters about the incident, remained at the peak of it's relevance. It covered most of everything that developed yesterday. It said everything that there really was to say, and I decided that I wanted to leave it right at the top of the blog so that it would remain the leading story here.

While the story of Master Ravenstahl's lies has stood firm for the last 48 hours or so, it has also expanded a bit in scope. We now know that he lied about it over and over and over again. We now know that he was asked about the incident by many different reporters on many different occasions and in many different ways. And in every case, until it was clear that truth could no longer be avoided, Interim Mayor Luke Ravenstahl lied.

His defense and his defenders are twisting semantics as hard as they possibly can, bending logic and language into unrecognizable new forms in a desperate attempt to claim that no actual lies were told. Their hope is that we, the people, will take our eye off the ball and begin to argue meaning rather than substance. If the debate can be converted into mere semantics, they know that our attention will be diverted away from Master Ravenstahl's behavior, both during the incident in question and in lying about it afterwards.

This is largely the same tactic which was used, quite successfully, by President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair. It worked very well then. The public twisted itself into knots debating the real meaning of terms such as "sexual relations" and even "is", and in the end forgot about what the President had actually done. It worked then. And Master Ravenstahl and his supporters are hoping and praying that it works here.

It's a disgusting tactic. Arguing over whether Interim Mayor Luke "Handcuffs" Ravenstahl was or was not "arrested" makes him look cheap. It makes him look like he has something to hide. It makes him look weak and immoral. And it puts him in the company of such stellar indivuduals as Rush Limbaugh, who also tried to argue that his time in custody did not amount to an "arrest". When the Democratic mayor of heavily-Democratic city is forced to act just like Rush Limbaugh, you know that something has gone drastically wrong.

My strong inclination is to not engage in an argument over the meaning of the term "arrest" or "detained". I don't think it wise to allow us to be distracted with the precise wording of the reporters' questions to Interim Mayor Ravenstahl. I think it's important to stick to what anyone with common sense -- or at least anyone who isn't intentionally ignoring what their common sense is telling them -- already knows. Master Ravenstahl was asked about the incident. He knew precisely what incident he was being asked about. He knew that it had happened. And he looked us all right in the face and told us that it never had occurred.

Bill Clinton did, indeed, engage in some sort of sexual activity with Monica Lewinsky. Luke Ravenstahl was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody by a City of Pittsburgh police officer. Both of these men were given ample opportunity to be honest with their constituents about the whole thing. Both of them failed us when they instead denied that the incidents ever took place. And both of them failed us even further when they resorted to a bullshit argument based merely on semantics to extricate themselves from the scandal that they, and they alone, had caused.

Bill Clinton remained in office anyway, and in many ways his opponents' grossly excessive reaction to his behavior backfired. The same sort of thing may happen here. But nothing can change the simple fact that neither man served us very well by lying to us. Nobody ever really forgets being lied to. And nobody ever looks at a political figure quite the same way after their lies have been revealed. Those who have supported and stood behind Luke Ravenstahl through all of his troubles should know and understand that, even if he emerges from this scandal with an election victory in May, the public will never again trust him in the way that they did before.


Maria said...

That was my thought too after reading Lukey's apologists -- it's getting as ridiculous as "it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

The Burgher said...

I think the actual incident is of little importance.
It is the lying ... the cover up .. that speaks to the respect Ravenstahl has for the Rules.

Matt H said...

This all sounds like desperation by you rbloggers because one of your own John McIntire was completely off base with the reasoning of his own blog post about the incident.

I'm just glad that people I know don't get their news and form their opinions on things by what you local bloggers right about Pittsburgh politics.

This witch hunt against the Ravenstahl administration by yinz bloggers is unreal. Every single move he makes is scrutinized by a blogger. Your hero John McIntire actually compared Mayor Ravenstahl to President George Bush on a talk show. No wonder no one takes bloggers seriously. You are all a bunch of extremists who are shills for Bill Peduto.

smittyfromtheflats said...

Gee Matt,do you think there is any connection between Luke getting cuffed,then released;the city creating a cost recovery program for extra duty police work,and Luke discontinuing the program;and Sgt Fisher releasing Luke,and running the most lucrative extra duty work program?

Or is this all lies from Peduto shills,too

Richmond K. Turner said...

Hey there, Matt. You seem to have recovered your stride, which is nice to see. It's amazing what a decent night's sleep can do for a man.

I would like to request, please, that you not refer to John McIntire as being either "one of [my] own" or my "hero". He is neither of those things. I have been critical of him when he has (in my opinion) gone over the line, and there have been many occasions where his rather juvenile humor has fallen very flat with me indeed. In many, many cases he makes the mistake of letting his language and presentation style take the lead, and it completely obscures whatever point he is trying to make.

So I am not enamored of him.

You also make a mistaken assumption that the mere act of keeping a blog somehow unites me with everyone else who does so. It doesn't. Having a blog is about as rare these days as having toilet paper in the bathroom.

I do this for me. I form my own opinons. And the differences between other bloggers and myself are probably at least as numerous and powerful as our similarities.

I fail to see how it is a problem that any elected public figure is scrutinized, whether by bloggers, the mainstream press, or anybody else. Yes, I scrutinize everything that Interim Mayor Ravenstahl does. When I disagree with him, I say so. On those rare occasions when I agree with him -- if one ever comes up -- I will say so as well.

That's part of the job that comes along with being a voter and a citizen. Pulling the party-line lever (or pushing the button, these days) without any critical understanding of what these people have done and have pledged to do is stupid.

You don't seem to have any problem expressing your views. Why do you have such a problem with me expressing my views. And let's be clear, Matt. What you are saying here is not so much that you disagree with my opinions, although it is clear that you do so. Instead, you seem to be mostly angry that I am permitted to express these views, so contrary to your own, in a public forum.

Whatever happened to, "I disagree what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"? That sentiment seems to be draining away from you, Matt. Maybe you should try to get it back.

Anonymous said...

I think Jeremy Boren, Rich Lord or someone else from the MSM should look into why the cost recovery program was killed by the Luke/Denny/Yarone administration. Not only are such programs common in other jurisdictions, but the City faces significant liability when its police officers work these special details....the officers may be working a private event for the Steelers, but if there's an incident --- the city will be the one sued due to the officers' conduct. Don't get me wrong -- we need a public safety presence at these type of events, but why should a cash-strapped city have all of the liability?

Dean said...

Matt H should get his own blog where he can sing the praises of Ravenstahl and every other currently elected local Democrat on a daily basis. I wonder if is available.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Richmond, I have a new post that speaks directly to the substance of your recent posts.

Smitty, your comments have been intriguing. I would appreciate if you or someone else could lay out the whole case on an idiot-friendly level. :)

I would be surprised if Matt H wasn't in high school. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Anon above - Jeremy & Rich could ask these questions:
1. What's the purpose of a cost recovery program?
2. How much money could the City make if it employed such a program?
3. How much did the City make in the past?
4. When was the program halted?
5. How much has the City lost since the program was halted?
6. How much does Sgt. Fisher stand to lose if the City employs the cost recovery program?
7. When did the administration meet with Fisher & others about the program?

Matt H said...

I'm not in high school you dope.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Well, you should try it sometime.

Thank you Pittsburgh! Good night!

Anonymous said...

here's a link to a December 2005 article about the City's plan for managing the details. if this initiative was part of the City's Act 47 Plan, how did Luke/Denny pull the plug on the plan unilaterally?

Jerry said...

This is all facinating reading but the one thing that Matt H. may be right about is that the majority of "likely voters" aren't reading blogs. This story appears dead in the MSM and that's bad news for Peduto.

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