Archive for the ‘Hypocrisy’ Category
I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation. This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls.
- Lindsey Graham, 0n CBS’s “Face the Nation,” December 2, 2012
There are so many lies and half-truths in Graham’s statement that it’s a marvel the zit on his nose in this Reuters photo is so small. You’d expect it would be larger than his nose, blocking his vision. Perhaps the photo was taken before he popped the whopper on national television.
Any blog post that rebutted all the fibs in that single paragraph would be tediously long. After all, it earned the Senator the Washington Post‘s coveted Three Pinocchios Award. But WC will dissect a few of Graham’s Big Lies in a doubtless futile effort to keep the conversation honest.
Dear Senator Graham:
On “Face the Nation” last month, you said that the then-current discussions on solutions to the “fiscal cliff” didn’t “remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy.” As you know, Senator, they aren’t “entitlements” and there is no threat of “imminent bankruptcy.” You are indulging in neocon Big Lies again.
Medicare and Social Security are both insurance programs. They are only “entitlements” in the sense that any contractual obligation entitles a person to performance. By your reasoning, the hefty salary you are paid by American taxpayers is an “entitlement.” WC and his fellow citizens pay premiums their entire working lives for the modest benefits that Social Security and Medicare provide. It’s insulting and dishonest to call the programs “entitlements.”
Medicaid isn’t an entitlement; it’s governmental prudence. Or do you and your fellow neocons intend to turn away health coverage for those who cannot afford it? Isn’t it clear that denying minimal health care to those who need it is contrary to everything America stands for? Because if we don’t turn them away, Americans will pay. Either in a somewhat sensible program like Medicare, or in the form of higher rates for themselves as the hospitals and clinics shift the cost of those who cannot pay. There are only three options: Medicaid, or something very like it; forced subsidization as insurers and medical providers pass the costs of treating the poor on to the rest of us; or turning the poor away at the health care door.
You call them “entitlements” because the term mischaracterizes what they really are in a way that you think is advantageous to you and your fellow neocons. It’s a trick straight out of the Newt Gingrich lexicon. It’s a ploy. It’s an attempt to make cuts seem inevitable, rather than a hard political choice. It’s an attempt to make treating the elderly badly a virtuous deed.
Nor is social security in imminent danger of bankruptcy. It’s fully funded, under existing contributions and existing benefits, through 2023. At least ten years. Imminent is the fiscal cliff. Imminent is the pending borrowing limit. A decade is forever. And there is a known, easily implemented solution to the social security funding shortfall: remove the limits on social security contributions by the wealthy. You claim to oppose it because it is a “tax increase” but your real objection is that it’s a easy fix to your non-crisis.
Medicare is fully funded through 2024. No imminent threat of bankruptcy there, either. And that’s just one part of the overall Medicare system. Congress has eleven years to act. As if there was anyone in Congress who can think and plan eleven years into the future.
So WC would appreciate it if you could stop the political showboating, including your vote against the interim compromise on the morning of January 1 and deal with issues like a statesman. Or at least use the truth instead of lies, false alarms and Newtisms. Call it a New Years Resolution.
Or that zit on your nose is only going to get bigger.
As WC listened to NRA flak and alleged human being Wayne LaPierre mouth the NRA’s idiot ideas yesterday, WC wondered how much the guy had to be paid to sell his soul.
In the case of LaPierre, he got a pretty good price for hawking his pitiful, tattered humanity. About $971,000 in 2010, according to the on-line Form 990 filed by his employer.
And for that princely sum, LaPierre appeared, while the grief-stricken parents in Newtown were still burying their children, and while yet another mass shooting was under way in Pennsylvania, to offer the NRA’s solution to vast numbers of firearms in our society and the resulting horrors like Sandy Hook Elementary.
That’s right, an armed guard at every school. Of course, in the case of some of the bigger schools, it might take several armed guards. But the NRA’s solution is more guns.
Wait. Weren’t there security guards at Columbine High School? Is WC mis-recalling?
Never mind. More guns. If you went to the NRA headquarters complaining of a toothache, it would prescribe “more guns.”
We’re now going to treat burns with more fire. And frozen pipes with dry ice. And breath-taking ignorance and stupidity with less education. These guys would treat bubonic plague by releasing more rats.
WC is sometimes too cynical, but that may not be possible here. The major firearms manufacturers are huge contributors to the NRA. And the NRA’s latest idiot idea will certainly sell a lot of additional firearms. It’s no different than the tobacco companies huge contributions to their stooge “independent research laboratories,” who would solemnly announce there was no link between smoking and cancer. We’re seeing the same technique here. It’s just a different disease.
The NRA continues its thuggish insistence that the Second Amendment, unlike the other parts of the Bill of Rights, cannot be qualified or limited in any way. Wayne LaPierre made that official.
But despite nailing down almost $1 million a year, he didn’t take any questions from the media. Apparently, he’s not paid enough to answer questions.
WC admits the title is ripped off from the original Wizard of Id cartoon, back when Johnny Hart still drew it. “The peasants are revolting.”
But the teabaggers demonstrated just how far out of touch they are with America and the economy. Spare WC all of the “Plan B” jokes. The Republicans have packed their bags and gone home, leaving the country and the economy teetering on the lip of the fiscal cliff. Wait, that’s three bad metaphors in one paragraph. WC will start over.
During the lead up to the vote on Speaker Boehner’s so-called Plan B, his challenge to the President’s last offer, it became apparent that the teabagger wing of his party wasn’t going to support even a tiny tax increase on millionaires. They were voting against their own Speaker’s bill. Since the bill wasn’t going to get any votes from Democrats, and the sane Republicans (i.e., non teabaggers) couldn’t carry the bill by themselves, Boehner’s choices were to go down in flames on a full vote, or withdraw his Plan B. Both mortifying, but withdrawing the bill kept the debacle out of the Congressional Record.
And then they all went home.
That’s grown up. That’s mature. That’s responsible.
A real leader, as opposed to Speaker Boehner, might have said, “Okay, the economic health of the country is more important than absolutism.” A real leader would have put together a compromise acceptable to the Democrats and the sane Republicans, forced it through and avoided the financial crisis. Sure, it would have seriously annoyed the teabagger loonies. They might have even put together a coalition their own and kicked Boehner out of the speaker’s chair. But sometimes, like maybe when the entire nation’s financial health is on the line, it’s more important to do the right thing than cling to power.
But we’re not talking about a real leader. We’re talking about Speaker Boehner. Who picked up his marbles and went home.
WC notes with concern recent reports that the Taliban in Pakistan are targeting polio health workers for assassination. Polio is still endemic in Pakistan. The Pakistani government had been in the middle of a three-day vaccination drive targeting high risk areas of the country as part of its effort to immunize millions of children under the age of five. Polio, of course, can be effectively controlled by a simple vaccine.
The Taliban claims that the health workers are spies, that the polio vaccine causes sterility, and, more prosaically, that they won’t allow health workers to enter until U.S. drone attacks stop. WC finds it appalling that a political group like the Taliban that claims to care about its children will sacrifice them to the ravages of poliomyelitis for irrational beliefs and political gain. ”Such attacks deprive Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations – especially children – of basic life-saving health interventions,” said a statement jointly released by the government and the U.N. “We call on the leaders of the affected communities and everyone concerned to do their utmost to protect health workers and create a secure environment so that we can meet the health needs of the children of Pakistan.”
But who is the United States to criticize?
In Newtown, Connecticut, we’re still burying children murdered by a semi-automatic assault rifle-toting madman. Our Second Amendment nut jobs aren’t so very different from the Taliban. They, too, are willing to sacrifice the safety and lives of our children to avoid interventions that might save them: the regulation of assault weapons, the screening of all would-be purchasers and a limitation on how many firearms can be purchased in a year. There are two epidemics: polio in Pakistan; gun violence in America. Why isn’t it equally evil to prevent administration of a vaccine and prevent rational firearms regulation?
The claims of the NRA regarding its obsession with firearms are just as ridiculous as the Taliban’s claims that polio vaccine causes sterility. The NRA claims carrying a firearm makes a citizen safer; all the the evidence is to the contrary. A gun-toting citizen is more than four times more likely to get shot than his unarmed colleague. The NRA claims that the Second Amendment protects their right to have any firearms – and, WC supposes, other weapons – they want. But that’s errant nonsense. None of the constitutional rights established by the Bill of Rights are unbounded. Each Amendment has its limits and qualifications.
WC is certain that his readers will climb all over him for comparing the Taliban to the gun nuts in America. But, in WC’s view, if there is a difference it is only a difference of degree. The same monomania; the same disjunction between logic and goals; the same inflexible insistence on their interpretation of a document to the exclusion of all other considerations.
The only difference WC can see is that the Taliban wraps itself in the mantle of the Koran, while the gun nuts wrap themselves in the mantle of the Second Amendment. And WC is pretty sure that difference isn’t material.
Because the path that the NRA and the Gun Owners of America want for the United States leads to the chaos that is Pakistan. Are its citizens any safer for being heavily armed? Is that the future that we envision for America? Isn’t that what the “cold, dead fingers” business is all about?
Any society that cannot protect its children has failed of its essential purpose. Any subset of a society that refuses to take sensible, appropriate steps to protect children should be ignored and shunned. Any politicians that refuse to recognize that principle should be voted out of office. Including, apparently, the entire Alaska Congressional delegation.
WC’s Grandma, who did a lot of campfire cooking on a long, hard trip from Iowa to California in the 1930s, used to describe hypocrisy as “the pot calling the kettle black.”
Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
You remember Dick Morris. He was The Clinton campaign advisor who, to impress prostitute Sherry Rowlands, invited her to listen in on his telephone conversations with President Clinton. He was
fired resigned and has hated the Clintons since.
He’s worked –for a given definition of “work” – for the right wing elements of the Republican party since, most recent embarrassing himself during the denouement of the presidential election in November.
But WC wants to share with his readers the news that Morris isn’t just a figurative con man; he’s literally a con man. Watch this interesting bit of Find the Lady:
- Work for Fox News for a generous salary, and spend most of your air time flogging your own Political Action Committee, Super PAC for America. Instead of paying for advertising, you are getting paid to advertise. Sweet. And because it is Fox News, you can say anything you want, however outrageous, because it’s you know, Fox News.
- And double-dip by drawing a salary from your tame Super PAC. That’s right, you pay yourself to, among other agreeable duties, appear on Fox News for a salaried job to raise money to pay yourself. Sweet.
- And then triple-dip by causing your tame Super PAC to pay a mess of money to Newsmax for “ad placement.” And a big part of that “ad placement” is renting the donor email list from … wait for it … your tame Super PAC. As best WC can tell from filed Federal Election Commission reports, Morris’s Super PAC for America was paid more than $150,000 by Newsmax to rent its email list.
And what was the “ad placement” used by Newsmax, sent to the expensively rented email list?
Solicitations for more contributions to Super PAC for America, of course. After all, it has to pay Dick Morris.
It’s every con man’s dream: persuading the marks to pay you money to pay yourself money. And it’s perfectly legal.
In a moment of uncharacteristic candor, Morris has since admitted that advertising is ineffective. Of course, the anti-Obama hog trough is empty now. And the poor neocon voters are too dumb to know that they’ve not only been conned, they’ve had their noses rubbed in it afterwards.
Morris said that he would leave the United States if Hillary Clinton were elected president in 2008. If she wins in 2016, will he follow through on that promise? Please?
FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou hast committed—
BARABAS. Fornication: but that was in another country; And besides, the wench is dead.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta, Act IV
The Boy Scouts of America, for decades, refused to perform criminal background checks on their volunteers. It kept inadequate records of volunteers who had abused young boy scouts, in an attempt to prevent recidivism. But it made no effort to impose requirements of preliminary screening until 2008. As a result, convicted sex offenders were accepted as volunteers and leaders. And abused young boys.
The Los Angeles Times has done a nice job getting some of the earlier records, over the fierce opposition of Boy Scouts of America. But the most recent records they’ve been able to obtain are through 1997. The period 1997 to 2008, when some screening was put in place, remain secret. You have to wonder how bad they have to be.
The Boy Scouts’ national office have spun, twisted and distorted the facts. You can read a sample here, if your stomach is strong enough. But apart from the usual lame apology, BSA doesn’t explain why they stone-walled on criminal background checks until 2008. They boast about how good their risk management system is now.
Perhaps they were too focused on excluding gays.
The LA Times reports:
Edgardo Luis Ortiz became an assistant scoutmaster in Providence, R.I., in the fall of 1997 — less than two years after completing a prison term for sex crimes.
Within months, he was accused of sexually abusing two boys on a camping trip. The Providence Journal asked the local Scouts council why it hadn’t done a background check.
“We just don’t,” a top official said. “I don’t know why. It’s just the procedure of the Boy Scouts of America.”
Instead, the BSA was a big champion of the National Child Protection Act, which was mostly about limits on liability and costs that the Boy Scouts had requested. In the meantime, the BSA led a coalition of youth groups, including the YMCA and the Girl Scouts, that fought against mandatory fingerprint checks for background screening in Florida, Pennsylvania and other states.
We already know the Boy Scouts aren’t so good at introspection. But they owe a lot of Americans, including a lot of former scouts, an explanation. WC’s not holding his breath.
From an interview of Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) for GQ Magazine:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
No, Senator, it’s not a mystery, it’s evading the question.
And to the extent you actually do give faith an equal footing with science, you disqualify yourself from serious consideration for the presidency of the United States.
Any charitable organization, including churches, as a condition of receiving charitable status, must refrain for taking positions in political campaigns. ”It should be noted that the [charitable] exemption is lost . . . by participation in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.” United States v. Dykema, 666 F.2d 1096, 1101 (7th Cir. 1981) (cert. den., 456 U.S. 983 (1982) (emphasis in original).
Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered his priests to read a letter to their congregations this weekend. “By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.” (Bold face in original). This is the same man who compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin.
The first paragraph castigates President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, grossly misstating the law and its impact on the Catholic Church. The second paragraph compares anyone supporting abortion to a member of the mob calling for Jesus’ death. The third paragraph threatens anyone voting for President Obama with eternal damnation. The fourth paragraph orders parishioners to vote.
If the prohibition on churches and charities involving themselves in political campaigns still means anything, the IRS will be acting to revokes the charitable exemption of the Bishopric of Peoria very shortly. Bishop Jenky’s letter will be Exhibit A.
The group of Christianists calling itself the “Alaska Family Council” is once again launching a last-minute attack against a respected judge. A serial, recidivist offender, this group of unscrupulous cowards is once again trying to accomplish by ambush what it doesn’t dare attempt by fair tactics.
Superior Court Judge Sen K. Tan is the presiding judge for the Third Judicial District. He has served as a superior court judge for 15 years. Like all superior court judges, he stands for retention election every six years. As is required by law, the Alaska Judicial Council evaluated all judges standing for election. The Judicial Council recommended that Judge Tan be retained. His scores among the attorneys, peace officers and other appearing before him were quite good. WC can report from personal experience that Judge Tan is diligent, hardworking, intelligent and careful. He’s precisely the kind of person Alaskans should want to retain as a trial judge.
But the Alaska Family Council dislikes Judge Tan’s decisions on abortion. That by itself is fine. By definition, Judge Tan and his colleagues are going to disappoint and annoy at least half of the people appearing in front of them. WC is personally offended by single issue organizations like Jim Minnery’s Alaska Family Council, who are incapable of understanding multi-variate analyses. But we live in a democracy, and they are entitled to their opinions, and even to be as noisy and obnoxious about their opinions as they are.
What’s not okay is for the Alaska Family Council to engage in ambush tactics, launching atttacks on Judge Tan and others at the last minute, when it is too late for Judge Tan or his supporters to respond. That’s cowardly; it’s the moral equivalent of sneaking up behind someone and banging their head with a rock.
This isn’t the first time that Jim Minnery and his pack of true believers have acted like hyenas. They attempted the same scurrilous tactics against Chief Justice Dana Fabe in 2010. And when the Alaska Judicial Council in 2010 acted to protect the integrity of the judicial retention process, the cowards and cheats went to court to challenge the Judicial Council’s efforts to keep the system fair. The Alaska Family Council lost. See? There is justice.
Now they are doing it again. Never mind that the Judicial Council’s report has been out for more than 60 days. Never mind that Judge Tan’s decisions were made back in 2003, and he has successfully stood for retention since. Never mind that the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed Judge Tan’s decisions. Never mind that Alaska Family Council’s issues are old, stale news. The real problem is that Alaska Family Council’s ambush politics subvert the informed and thoughtful discussion that underlies the electoral process. By repeatedly attempting to ambush a judicial retention candidate, they subvert our election process and democracy itself.
Protect the integrity of our system of government. Ignore the cheaters and cowards. Ignore the Christianist hate. Support a fine judge.
Vote to retain Judge Sen Tan.
The opinions in this post are solely those of WC. This post has not been approved by any party or candidate. No expenses were incurred in creating this post. No electrons were harmed in creating this post.
It is difficult but not impossible to conduct strictly honest business. What is true is that honesty is incompatible with the amassing of a large fortune.
— Mahatma Gandhi
WC has written before about The Mitt’s ongoing problem with the truth. Or even simple consistency. It’s increasingly apparent that The Mitt has only one principle that guides him: he is prepared to do and say whatever it takes to get elected. The truth doesn’t matter. The facts don’t matter. Consistency its irrelevant. All that matters to him is that he is elected president. WC truly believes The Mitt would sell his wife and children if he thought it would make him president of the United States.
WC has no way of knowing if The Mitt’s problem with the truth is a result of Ghandi’s aphorism. Certainly The Mitt became very wealthy through a fundamentally dishonest, if lawful, means: Bain Capital’s use of leveraged buyouts. Stealing balance sheet equity through LBOs is ethically dubious, at best.
But The Mitt’s willingness to do and say anything necessary to get himself elected goes far beyond being ethically dubious. What does the candidate actually stand for? What are his core principles? Other than getting elected?
WC has met members of the LDS church who have testified, under oath, that in their judgment it was okay for members of the church to lie to gentiles like WC because they were, in fact, gentiles. Elders of the LDS church have told WC that’s just not church doctrine. And WC is inclined to believe them. But it would explain so much about The Mitt.
Abortion. For it, then against it. Mandatory health insurance. For it, then against it. A fixed date for withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was against it and now he is for it. Military action against Iran? He’s for it and against it. Climate change is and isn’t happening, is and isn’t caused by humans. Carbon taxes are and aren’t a good idea. Sometimes WC gets dizzy as The Mitt switches positions to suit the moment.
He vetoed 800 bills from a Democratic Massachusetts legislature in his four years as governor – and spent his final year out of state boasting about them to right-wing audiences. But now he claims to be bipartisan.
The Mitt’s hair color is fake, and so is his tan.
He even flip-flops on flip-flopping.
Paul Waldman says,
As the end of this election approaches, it’s worth taking a step back and asking this question: In the entire history of the United States of America, from George Washington’s election in 1789 on down, has there been a single candidate as unmoored from ideological principle or belief as Mitt Romney? I’m not just throwing an insult here, I ask this question sincerely. Because I can’t think of any.
Andrew Sullivan says,
Romney is a chilling shape-shifter who played a far right candidate for nine months and Mr Rogers for one. Can you trust such a man in the Oval Office? How do we have any idea what he’d do? His refusal to provide the math on how his budget plans work, and his endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy the other night while retaining all the war-mongers for the Israeli right among his advisers, completes the picture.
Yes, he wants as badly as anyone in American history to be elected president. But what does he stand for? What are his core values? More importantly, how can anyone possibly know for certain?
The Mitt famously proposes to cut taxes by 20%, and to avoid increasing the deficit by closing “tax loopholes” to increase revenue. Equally famously, The Mitt refuses to describe exactly which “tax loopholes” will be closed. A lot of professional tax and economic analysts don’t think it can be done.
In fact, no fewer than six independent studies have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan. Rather than wasting time trying to discredit the proposals of the Republican nominee, perhaps Mr. Barro and other journalists should investigate President Obama’s tax reform package. Or, more accurately, his lack of one.
Deputy Policy Director
Romney for President
And Mr. Burks was kind enough to forward links to the “six independent studies.” Josh Barro’s review and analysis of the “six independent studies” is roughly what a Cuisinart™ does to cheese. It’s worth a read, but here’s the short version.
We’ll start with the conclusion that sparked all of the excitement. The Brookings Institute back in August published an analysis of The mitt’s tax plan, concluding
Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.
That’s how an economist says “won’t work.” Josh Barro reported all this, leading to his receipt of The Mitt’s “six independent studies.”
It turns out there aren’t any studies. There are four blog posts, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece and a paper from The Heritage Foundation.
Now WC likes to think he is a reasonably careful blogger but never, not on his smuggest day, has WC ever regarded his blog posts as “studies.” A study implies something besides an opinion and, as Barro points out, that’s really all those four blog posts offer. And as Barro demonstrates, the opinions are not well-informed.
For example, under current law interest earned on municipal and state bonds isn’t subject to federal income tax. Viewed in one way, that’s a “tax loophole.” It could certainly be terminated. But if local and state bonds were taxable, they’d have to pay a higher rate of return to attract investors. Probably about 25 – 30% higher. That would mean higher debt service – bond payments. Those payments are made by us. If the bonds went to a new water treatment plant, that would mean higher costs for water. If the bonds were for a bridge, it would mean higher tolls to pay for the bridge. The point is that closing that “tax loophole” doesn’t save the voters any money. It just forces them to pay more elsewhere.
Another example: under current federal tax law, mortgage interest is deductible to folks like you and WC. That reduces the amount of each mortgage payment by the product of your marginal tax rate multiplied by the interest you paid. Unless you are like The Mitt and only pay 13% tax rates, it’s going to be 20 – 30% saved. That allows you to buy a nicer home, because your payments are reduced by the tax savings. It’s a “tax loophole.” Congress could close that loophole. But the effect would be to sharply reduce the price of the average home the average Joe or Jane could afford to buy. By about 20 – 30%. That would echo and re-echo through the already beleaguered housing industry.
The point here is that important sectors of our economy are built around the “tax loopholes” that are in the current tax laws. The loopholes can’t be “closed” to accomplish The Mitt’s claimed goal without serious, unintended side effects.
One of Josh Barro’s key points is that The Mitt’s “studies” fail to consider those unintended consequences. And, he points out, they also fail to acknowledge that you can’t inflict those kinds of massive shocks all at once; you have to phase them in over a few years.
Another of those key points is that The Mitt has seriously boxed himself in by promising that he won’t raise taxes on persons earning $200,000 or less. The higher the income bracket protected from a tax increase, the harder it is to explain. So hard, in fact, that two of the six “studies” set the line at $100,000. Oops.
It can’t be done. That’s the bottom line. There’s not enough tax revenue in the “loopholes” available to The Mitt under The mitt’s standards to make up for the revenue loss from the 20% tax cut. And that’s before you take into account the indirect effects described earlier.
And that’s the reason The Mitt refuses to identify specific tax loopholes. If he does, the conclusion would be obvious.
It isn’t just that The Mitt is playing high stakes poker with a busted flush. He doesn’t even have any cards. And yet there’s a serious risk this congenital liar and unprincipled robber baron will be elected president. As Adlai Stevenson reportedly said, “In America, anyone can be elected president. That’s just the chance you take.”
Even though it’s gotten to the point where you need a minute-by-minute roundup to keep track of The Mitt’s latest falsehoods, confabulations, distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies, WC will undertake a kind of snapshot of the whoopers de jour to assist readers. WC cautions that if you are easily inclined to either rage or despair, you may not want to read further.
In the second debate on Tuesday night, The Mitt said President Obama had quadrupled regulations on small businesses.
A lie by any measure. According Bloomberg, Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database.
If you measure by the cost of regulations, the number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation.
But quadrupled? Ridiculous.
Also in the second debate, The Mitt described a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of his cabinet.
in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
The Mitt is taking credit for a bipartisan effort that occurred long before he was elected. So The Mitt is fibbing about this. But it’s worse. The Mittster did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is an okay but not outstanding 42 percent. But there’s much less there than meets the eye:
However, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that The Mitt didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.
Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Finally, how is it that The Mitt, this alleged human being who claims to have led and consulted for businesses for 25 years, didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?
In the second debate, The Mitt claimed President Obama waited two weeks to admit the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi, Libya was terrorism.
As a threshold matter, WC agrees with Josh Marshall’s summary:
It’s been a nonsensical proposition from the start to imagine that foreign policy seriousness is defined by being the first one to hit the ‘terror’ buzzer like you’re a contestant on Jeopardy. But the Romney camp laid the trap. And tonight Mitt walked right into it. Live by the buzzword, die by the buzzword.
But yes, On September 11 and September 12, President Obama used the phrase, “act of terror” in relation to the murder of embassy staff. He also quite sensibly said that investigations were continuing, that the culprits would be run down and that the culprits would be punished. You can bet that if the President hadn’t said there was an investigation, The Mitt would be accusing the President of jumping to conclusions. WC supposes that if this is the best The Mitt can do attacking the foreign policy of the President, the outcome of the election should be a foregone conclusion.
A final distortion, The Mitt claimed oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.
Looking at any single year is nearly meaningless. A catastrophic accident like the Deepwater Horizon disaster, or a decision by the major oil companies to invest in private land in any given year, can result in fewer competitive leases being granted. If you look across three years, instead of a single year, oil production from federal leases is actually up under President Obama:
• From 2004-08, well into Bush’s tenure, oil production on federal lands and waters fell in four of five years, for a net decrease of 16.8 percent.
• From 2009-11, the Obama years, oil production rose two of three years, for a net increase of 10.6 percent.
Moreover, there are more federal leases in place in 2011 than in 2007, 50,444 in 2011 and 48,933 in 2007. The Mitt knows all this. He just chose to cherry-pick his facts, and to lie by omission.
So The Mitt Fib Index – the ratio of truth to lies – remains appallingly high. No surprise there. But that’s all WC can stomach for now. It’s probably just as well WC missed the debate, or his television might not have survived the experience.
Postscript: In Iain M. Banks’ latest Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, one of the characters (an artificial intelligence that is also quite a powerful spaceship) has given itself the name Refreshingly Unconcerned with the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity. Many of Banks’ Ships have euphemistic names. None of the others, though, is quite so close to current American events.
WC is shocked – shocked! – to report the the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has once again
censored failed to print today’s Doonesbury cartoon. Trudeau’s imaginary exploration of The Mitt’s mission days in France is apparently too controversial for WC’s local paper. Wildlife necrophilia featuring shots of dozens of dead moose may be okay, but satire is unacceptable.
So, as a service to WC’s readers, here’s a link to the on-line ‘toon, which WC regards as pure comic gold.
WC is also a fan of Dogs of C-Kennel, and today’s cartoon is less political but no less incorrect, so here’s a link to it as well.
Medical doctor, former airplane mechanic and member of the U.S. House Paul Broun from the great state of Georgia has announced the theories of evolution and the big bang are “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” WC can’t make this stuff up.
This idiot is the chair of the House Science Committee’s panel on investigations and oversight. Is it any wonder that U.S. students are slipping in knowledge of science? Is it any surprise that U.S. fourth graders from Georgia are in the bottom quartile in the nation? Would you let this clown practice medicine on your body? How can this nut job be running unopposed?
What is happening to our country that voters will elect someone who relies for his scientific knowledge on a badly translated, mutually inconsistent series of stories written, in the best case, by guys who thought the sun rotated around the earth, that the earth was flat and that all the animal species on the planet would fit on a small boat. Faith is not knowledge. Faith is a poor substitute for knowledge when it comes to understanding geology, biology, astronomy and physics.
We scorn Sunni Muslims because by their interpretation of their sacred texts, women cannot be permitted to drive automobiles. Yet a substantial minority – WC hopes it is still a minority – think the Christian Bible is literally true.
If this doesn’t make you worry about the future of our country, WC respectfully suggests you are not paying attention.
Update: The Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald reports Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for Rep. Broun, referred to the video in this brief, emailed statement: “Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.” WC thinks this apologia/retraction/spin speaks for itself.
WC’s mongrel pedigree includes a fair amount of Swedish blood, and when WC’s family made it back stateside we usually had at least one meal at an all-you-can eat Swedish smorgasbord restaurant. While the dessert buffet always appealed to WC, the lutfisk, smoked eel and head cheese, not so much.
As the U.S presidential election lurches through the final weeks, it seem to WC that the neocons have little left on the smorgasbord besides mouldering eel, head cheese and lutfisk. All fine, ethnic dishes but not exactly suitable to the task of electing Republican candidates. Consider:
- Head cheese, anyone? On September 30, the hierarchy of the Mormon church will consider whether to excommunicate blogger David Twede for the apostasy of criticizing The Mitt. So much for the First Amendment. Is WC the only one who thinks this episode, if true, would have frightening implications for a President Romney? Or that the elders of the LDS church are fulfilling the worst expectations of gentiles.
- How about some more lutfisk? Then there’s U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R. MO), who’s running against U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D. MO). You remember Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin. Astonishingly, he is still in the race and the race remains improbably close. Perhaps Missouri is stranger than WC’s birding buddies led him to expect. Well, Rep. Akin put his foot in it again, this time accusing Senator McCaskill of being “more ladylike” in his previous effort to unseat her. First he plays doctor; now he plays Miss Manners. How is this guy has credibility with Missouri voters? Doesn’t a road-killed frog have more appeal?
- Finally, a dish that’s been on the buffet so long it’s turned in to a science project. The Mitt for months now has been running a political ad grossly distorting something President Obama said. Yes, there have been lots, but this one is egregious. In the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama said, ”Sen. McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we are going to lose.’” The Mitt took McCain’s statement, attributed it to President Obama, as “If we keep talking about the economy, we are going to lose.” The ad is still on The Mitt’s YouTube channel. Earlier this week, Romney told a CNN reporter that, when it comes to using accurate facts and figures, his campaign has “been absolutely spot on.” He added, “And anytime there’s anything that’s been amiss, we correct it or remove it.” Right. WC has very, very low expectations of The mitt, but he still manages to consistently fail to meet them.
WC will stop now. Can’t be putting folks off their meals.
Rush Limbaugh continues to prove the Rick Santorum (R, PA) was right.
Santorum told the Values Voters recently that they weren’t smart. They applauded the line. Which pretty much proved Santorum’s point, even if it wasn’t the point he intended.
Rush Limbaugh also corroborated Santorum’s claim. He announced a new theory – “Wild theory, picking it off the wall.” – that al Qaeda allowed the Obama Administration to kill Osama bin Laden because al Qaeda wants President Obama to be re-elected. Because it increases the chances that al Qaeda can obliterate Israel.
Now WC has resisted picking on Limbaugh lately. It’s WC’s theory – Wild theory, picking it off the wall – that Limbaugh suffers from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation. He chronically has his head in the nether regions of his anatomy. You know, where the sun doesn’t shine. WC supposes there’s not much oxygen in there.
WC has other theories, too, but they are to vulgar for this blog.
But back to Limbaugh’s wacko theory de jour. His idea is that Osama bin Laden was expendable, and had so little value that the organization he founded and funded would sacrifice him in an effort to get Barack Obama re-elected. Because President Obama would be less zealous in defending Israel. Now there are some folks who are more rational and lucid than Limbaugh who might note that a President Romney would likely involve us in a third land war in Asia. This time in Iran. If you want to make Muslims hate the United States more, increase moderate Muslim donations to terrorist organizations and improve recruitment of jihadists, wouldn’t a U.S. invasion of the most prominent Muslim theocracy on the planet be just the ticket? So wouldn’t al Qaeda support the Mitt?
So Limbaugh remains a poster child for Santorum’s surprising admission:
We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you
what to do.
Limbaugh, of course, isn’t interested in anything except pandering to his audience. This is an alleged human being who makes his living by pandering. Santorum, with a dual post-graduate degree in business administration and law, is the very essence of the intellectual elite he mocks. And both of them are tireless in telling people what to do. So we can add hypocrisy to the list of reasons to distrust the neo-conservatives.
How is it that Limbaugh has an audience? That Santorum gets elected? How is it that the clowns are running the circus?
The United States National Wildlife Refuge system is under attack. Specifically, there is a bill in Congress that would prohibit anyone but Congress from creating new National Wildlife Refuges. The bill would destroy a century-old administrative process for designating new National Wildlife Refuges. The excuses for the bill are a tissue of lies. WC will examine a few of them.
The National Wildlife Refuge system is a microscopic part of the federal budget. For the last year for which WC can find data, the net cost to taxpayers was $503 million. That’s 0.013% of the 2012 federal budget. It’s about the cost of a single F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft. Put another way, the cost of the entire National Wildlife Refuge System, a sum Rep. Fleming doesn’t propose to reduce at all, could be recovered by canceling the order for a single F-22. So perhaps this isn’t about saving money.
And that “land grab appetite.”? Every U.S. president since Teddy Roosevelt – no exceptions – has administratively created national wildlife refuges. Ronald Reagan alone created 35 national wildlife refuges. George H.W. Bush created 47. George W. Bush created 13, including the largest single unit in the NWR system.
President Obama? Just five. But one of them was the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, north of Lake Okeechobee in the Kissimmee River basin. It’s controversial. So Rep. Fleming’s solution to a local problem of a wildlife refuge to protect Florida Scrub Jays, an endangered species, drinking water and the Florida Black Panther is to remove a presidential power that has existed for well over a century. And the “land grab” claims is especially specious in the case of Everglades Headwaters because two-thirds of the Refuge will be private property where the owners have voluntarily sold only their development rights.
So what’s going on?
WC respectfully suggests that this bill has a lot more to do with unhappy real estate developers who just happen to be big contributors to Rep. Fleming’s political campaign than alleged land grabs and excessive spending.
And we already know about Rep. Don Young’s connections to Florida property developers, so it’s no surprise to learn that he is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3009.
It’s the usual teabaggery: pandering to campaign contributors thinly disguised as money saving and power-limiting, advanced with an utter disregard for either history or existing processes.
Nothing to see here; move along.
The GOP is conducting it political convention in Tampa Bay, Florida. WC joins the other 100,000 reporters in offering his comments and notes on the Neocon Carnival, with quotes from better-qualified observers:
[A] party platform that reeks of fear – of women, gays, immigrants, racial minorities, foreigners, Muslims, Medicaid recipients … well the list goes on:
There is something wrong with the Republican Party, the survival of which demands more than a few moments of self-examination and reflection. I wouldn’t use the word “stupid,” though it is tempting. Suicidal seems more apt. The GOP, through its platform, its purity tests, pledges, and its emphasis on social issues that divide rather than unite, has shot itself in the foot, eaten said foot, and still managed to stampede to the edge of the precipice. Is extinction in its DNA?
This is indeed a party more extreme than any other right-of-center party in the West, a party whose social policy is dictated by the Bible, whose foreign policy is directed by the furthest-right faction in a foreign country (Israel), and whose economic policy is based on the notion that if you cut taxes massively and boost defense spending and only cut entitlements in twenty years, we can best tackle the debt.
David Brooks (A very amusing column):
Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal.
Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil. He had several boyhood friends, many of whom owned Nascar franchises, and excelled at school, where his fourth-grade project, “Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known,” was widely admired.
The Economist’s View:
Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.
And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.
When the treacle from High Priest Romney and Finance Chair Ryan gets too thick, take refuge in this alternate reading. It’s much more substantive, slightly more entertaining and less likely to induce apoplexy.
Dear Representative Akin -
First you said, “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
WC is curious. What is “legitimate rape” and how does it differ from “illegitimate rape”? Rape has a very clear definition in the law, and WC hasn’t seen your distinction any where else. So please explain.
Then you said, “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview, and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”
WC is still confused. So it’s okay to harm the first innocent victim for nine months after the rape – WC isn’t clear about whether this is an illegitimate or legitimate rape – by forcing the victim or a horrific crime to bear the child of the offender? Let’s think this through. If the rape victim threatens suicide, preferring to kill herself and the fetus rather than go through a nightmarish ordeal, that’s okay?
WC notes you are a member of the U.S. House Science Committee. WC would assume you checked out the science before stating your belief in the secret powers of the “female body.” But, of course, you didn’t check the science. If you had, you’d know that the science is that there are some 32,000 pregnancies in the United States each and every year as a result of rapes. That’s a pretty serious number of victims to overlook, don’t you think? Or did you know the science, and ignore it to pursue your extremist agenda?
Whichever the answer, WC finds himself in rare agreement with Senator John Cornyn (R, TX), who has personally told you to withdraw from the election. WC thinks you should resign from the Science Committee, too.
That said, WC does want to thank you and your Teabagger (in)sensibilities for pretty much handing the contested Missouri Senate seat to incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D, Missouri). She might have lost to a less incompetent candidate.
But, seriously, why don’t you and your barbaric attitudes just crawl back under whatever neolithic rock you crawled out from under?
PS. What, you say WC is piling on? Meh. You deserve it.
WC was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout. WC never made it to Eagle, but did get to Life Scout, the runner-up spot. WC was also a Boy Scout Camp Counsellor one summer, and had an impressive swath of merit badges.
For the last seven years or so, WC and Mrs. WC have made their annual contribution to United Way of the Tanana Valley with instructions that none of their donation was to go to the Midnight Sun Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A small gesture against the Boy Scouts of America’s homophobic policies.
Last month, after a claimed two years of study and review, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its homophobia.
In response, more than one hundred Eagle Scouts have returned their Eagle Scout badges to the Boy Scouts of America. You can read their letters. WC doesn’t have to add anything to those lucid, compelling and honest statements. Except to join them. His Life Scout Badge is en route to Boy Scout national headquarters.
To the gay members of WC’s former troop, WC extends his apologies.
To the the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board, WC recommends reading and thinking about the Scout Oath.