Won’t give him a pass?

中国日报网 2017-11-14 15:31



Won’t give him a pass?Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, particularly “won’t give him a pass”: I still won’t give him a pass for writing that article against lowering the drinking age a while back.

My comments:

It seems the speaker supports lowering the drinking age. “He” wrote an article against it some time ago and the speaker still won’t forgive him.

To be exact, the speaker won’t let go of the matter without scolding him or at the very least letting him know it.

“Pass”, here means permission, as in passport, a piece of document that allows one to go through passport control and travel in another country. When army men go through a checkpoint, they have to show their pass to be allowed through.

Hence giving someone a proverbial pass means you’re allowing them to say or do something anyway they want to. If they do something wrong and you still want to give them a pass, it means you’re willing to let it go and let them get away with it without reprimand.

That’s the point to make and the thing to remember about this phrase, if someone is given a pass or free pass, it often indicates they’re doing something wrong or improper but are getting away with it, getting away with it scot free, as they say – without suffering any consequences.

Let’s read a few media example to drive the point firmly home:

1. In the prepared statement he will deliver on Capitol Hill Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey undercuts a key line of attack from the White House and its allies: that Comey never raised concerns about President Donald Trump before he was fired. In Comey’s telling at least, he did repeatedly tell the bureau’s senior leadership that he feared the president was trying to influence the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Republicans, however, are already floating several talking points to defend the president and poke holes in Comey’s credibility. And there’s some evidence it could work—a majority of Americans expressed little or no trust in Comey in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday, skepticism that holds across party lines.

The Republican National Committee and other Trump boosters have been hammering Comey ever since the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed his upcoming testimony late last week. Since the president fired Comey in May, news outlets have reported a series of anecdotes about the two men’s conversations and Comey’s concerns Trump was trying to quash parts of the Trump-Russia investigation. In a memo sent to reporters on Monday, an RNC spokesman wrote that the erstwhile FBI director “needs to answer a simple question about his conversations with President Trump: If you were so concerned, why didn’t you act on it or notify Congress?”

In his testimony, Comey offers an explanation. He recounts how, after a “very concerning” February 14 conversation with the president in the Oval Office, he raised the issue with other FBI leaders. But they decided that “it was important not to infect the investigative team with the President’s request,” to drop the probe as it pertained to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. So they “decided to keep it very closely held, resolving to figure out what to do with it down the road as our investigation progressed.”

Comey did eventually take his concerns to the acting deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice and, indirectly, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Comey’s testimony confirms a report by The New York Times that he demanded Sessions not leave him alone with the president in the future.


Trump allies keep raising the fact that Comey kept detailed notes of all his conversations with the sitting president, but point to his admission that he did not do the same for Trump’s predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama. “Mr. Comey didn’t memorialize any conversations with other folks, just the conversations with President Trump. Who knows what that means,” Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan noted in an interview on Fox News Wednesday afternoon, without elaborating further.

The president has tried to paint Comey as a partisan in the past, highlighting the FBI’s decision not to charge Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information through her private email channels when she was secretary of state. In one Tweet in May, Trump declared, “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” That’s news to Clinton and fellow Democrats, who maintain that Comey’s October 28 letter to Congress reopening her email investigation tilted the November election to Trump.

- Trump And His Allies Are Already Trying To Discredit James Comey, Newsweek, June 8, 2017.

2. The photos on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook feed the last few months make him look less like a Silicon Valley CEO, and more like an Iowa Caucus contender.

So is the Facebook founder angling to become commander in chief?

He’s certainly crossing some candidate rituals off the to-do list, like posting pictures of himself eating local fare with some residents in early voting states, donning a fluorescent vest on a factory floor, and even shooting hoops with both of swing-state North Carolina’s most beloved NCAA coaches, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.

“For an engineer and business tycoon to, all of a sudden, be kind-of hanging out with regular people, it does send a lot of political messages,” said Matt Schlapp, President George W. Bush’s former political director. “This is clearly political activity. Is it just to further popularize Facebook? Or is there a more personal goal here?”

But the summer vacation itinerary that closely resembles a Super-Tuesday swing isn’t the only reason political watchers think the social network pioneer may try his hand at politics.

Zuckerberg also recently hired former Clinton pollster Joel Benenson to work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charitable foundation the CEO runs with his wife, which already has former Obama campaign guru David Plouffe on the payroll.

“You don’t tend to hire pollsters unless you want to know what people are thinking,” Schlapp said. “So my guess is the pollster is helping him understand the American people.”

If Zuckerberg decides to run for president, some on the left already forecast some hurdles. Published reports say he's not registered with either party, but some experts say he's likely to run as a Democrat.

“To survive the Democratic primary, the first thing he is going to need to do is appeal to women more than he has been able to do as a corporate leader so far,” explains Democratic strategist Pablo Manriquez. "One of the big criticisms of Facebook Inc. is that they don’t hire women, women aren’t elevated, and women’s voices are suppressed internally.”

Just more than one-third of Facebook’s workforce is female, according to newly released company data. The 35 percent of women working at Facebook represents an increase over last year.


“He’s looking at running against [California Democratic Senator] Kamala Harris, [Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth] Warren, and a lot of people who are just not going to give him a pass on that, the way he gets in the tech sphere,” Manriquez said.

None of this means primary success is impossible for Zuckerberg, though.

“Donald Trump has shown that the American people have a great appetite for getting rid of the experts in politics, and trying new things,” Schlapp said. “I don’t think it’s implausible for the idea of a Mark Zuckerberg candidacy to really take fire.”

- Mark Zuckerberg 2020? Facebook founder raises eyebrows with visits to swing states, FoxNews.com, August 8, 2017.

3. Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, whereby politicians negotiate the issues of the day and arrive at compromises. Neither party gets all that they want, but each gets something.

In America, that ideal has been dead for some time. I’m not sure when it died, but it is indisputably dead today. The parties are extremely polarized, bipartisanship is a distant dream, moderates in both parties are alienated from their party’s base and pressing national problems fester.

The conventional wisdom says both sides are to blame. This is a fallacy. Everyone knows that the Republican Party started us down this road when it won control of Congress in 1994. That said, in politics as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So Republican extremism has tended to force Democrats to become more extreme in the process.

President Obama often said that he thought that Republican extremism would burn itself out eventually; the fever would break. But first Republicans must be convinced that they had a fair chance to implement their policies, otherwise they will continue to insist that if only we had followed their advice, we would be living in Utopia — with rapid economic growth, a greatly reduced terror threat, minimal illegal immigration, low inflation, low unemployment, two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot. These are precisely the kinds of promises Donald Trump routinely made when he ran for President. You remember: We’ll win so much, you’ll get tired of winning.

Well, it’s put up or shut up time. Republicans control both houses of Congress and, arguably, the Supreme Court as well. Despite sometimes talking like an independent, Trump is the most right-wing President in our history — and I say that as someone who worked for Ronald Reagan.

The GOP has been telling us for years that Obama’s veto pen was the only thing standing in the way of a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would improve access and lower costs; tax reform that will improve fairness and juice growth; an impenetrable wall across the Mexican border, and a proud and consistent foreign policy that will defeat terrorism.

It’s now obvious that these were lies. Republicans have no idea how to accomplish those things, and the media gave them a pass for years by not forcing them to produce detailed plans for how to achieve them. This fact has not yet fully penetrated the public consciousness, but is slowly sinking in even among the Republican base. Many Republicans simply cannot understand why, with complete control of the federal government, all of their leaders’ promises are still unfulfilled.

- Learning from Republican failure: The end game for extremism, NYDailyNews.com, August 26, 2017.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)



















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