♦ Life is too brief and time is too precious to continue these posts. "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows ..."
♦ No, it's not true, as Gov Haley Barbour (R-Mississippi) and so many conservatives claim, that we somehow know next to nothing about Barack Obama's childhood, upbringing, or past. Actually, as Steve Benen notes at today's debunking link, "there's an entire book about Obama's upbringing. Obama wrote it. It was a best-seller."
The subtext of Barbour's claim, of course and obviously, is in keeping with the recurring right-wing theme in such tall tales — that Obama is different... Mysterious... Suspect... Not really an American... Not one of us...
It's hard to guess how much of this is in Barbour's mind and how much is just in his memory, from having heard this kind of rhetoric at every Republican event he's attended for several years now. But all these claims smell like subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) code words, intended for a small but vital slice of the electorate that's driven more by racism and fear than by any analysis of the issues. To appeal to those racist voters, certain slimy political operatives want to make sure that Obama's "difference" is never forgotten.
As a long-time political observer, my memory stretches back to the Nixon administration, but this seems unprecedented to me. I'd be curious to hear from others who remember at least several administrations. With every President — Republican or Democrat, from Nixon to Bush the Younger — my recollection is that the party out of power has always offered harsh criticisms of the President's policies and actions, but I just don't remember anyone demanding Ronald Reagan's birth certificate, or wanting to know every detail about Jimmy Carter's childhood.
But then again, they were white. #
♦ No, it's not true that Governor Haley Barbour (R-Mississippi) grew up in a post-segregated American South.
Barbour's claim to have attended racially integrated Southern schools — and never giving it a moment's thought — is a full-on fabrication. He attended an all-white high school. He went to a college where you could count the few black students on the fingers of just one hand and still have a middle finger for flipping at Governor Barbour. He even sent his own children to all-white private schools. To suggest, as Barbour does, that segregation ended before his generation came along, is just silly, and Gov Barbour is a liar. #
♦ No, it's not true that reversing ecological policy by re-legalizing DDT would provide a quick and easy solution to the growing problem of bedbugs. This seems to be a common, recurring claim in the comments section or in letters to the editor every time a newspaper or newscast reports on another bedbug infestation, but as usually happens when Republicans discuss science, it's wrong.
DDT is dangerous in numerous ways to numerous life forms including humans, but it's utterly ineffective against bedbugs. Through the ongoing process of evolution (more science often disputed by Republicans), bedbugs developed virtually complete resistance to DDT long ago, as numerous studies have shown. So re-legalizing DDT wouldn't do a dang thing to help combat bedbugs, and those who claim that DDT would help are both misinformed and misinforming. #
♦ No, it's not true that Michelle Obama tried to ban Christmas decorations or celebrations in the White House. It's another lie in an endless series of lies (collect them all), lies designed to send the message that Barack and Michelle Obama are somehow un-Christian, un -American, radical, Marxist, Black Panthers, or whatever other smears can be used as substitutes for "They're niggers" — which is of course the unspoken bottom line to all such lies. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration's economic stimulus accomplished nothing. We've been through this before, here and here, and Lord knows we've routinely just rolled our eyes and ignored the lie, because, duh. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the stimulus helped prevent the big recession from becoming even bigger, and the CBO is simply the non-partisan authority on such matters. So the stimulus helped, and politicians who claim it didn't are liars, and newspapers like the Washington Post, which pretend it's a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact, are lying too.
An editorial comment, speaking as someone who's far less an expert than anyone at the CBO: Sure, the Obama administration's stimulus did some good, but it was far, far too small. And now, its utility has been largely spent and the economy (obviously) is getting worse, not better, and we rather desperately need another — much larger — stimulus to get the economy moving. President Obama, of course, keeps saying he won't even consider such a thing. That's an enormous mistake which is making many millions of Americans miserable. Politically, it's a mistake that seems likely to cost Democrats control of the House, possibly the Senate, and might make Obama a one-term President. #
♦ No, it's not true that "The Obama Health and Human Services Department is planning to compile a federal health record on all U.S. citizens by 2014," including "each individual’s Body Mass Index." It's yet another just plain bonkers claim from yet another Republican running for office — Ann Marie Buerkle, a Republican who wants a seat in Congress. PolitiFact.com's debunking is almost comically brief and to the point: "We checked the facts and found there were no such plans." #
♦ Remember when Barack Obama was running for President, and the National Rifle Association spent millions of dollars on ads claiming that Obama would ban guns, outlaw ammunition, and repeal laws allowing home defense? It was, of course, horsesh*t, as we said at the time. It's always been obvious that gun control just flat-out isn't on Barack Obama's agenda, and now, going on two years after he won the election, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives the Obama administration a big fat "F".
But the facts don't matter, in matters like this. Rest assured, you'll still hear panicked hysterical crapola about how Obama's going to confiscate everyone's guns, ammo, and right to self-defense. The lies will never end, because there's big money in keeping people ginned up on fear. #
♦ No, it's not true that 30,000 scientists are suing the US government or former Vice President Al Gore, claiming they've somehow been forbidden to debate the evidence of global climate change. It's just another bizarre and basically nutty claim made by science deniers, and swallowed whole by the stupid, the gullible, the ignorant, and the uneducated. Please, click the above link and let some truth battle the bull.
In the real world, of course, the evidence of global climate change is compelling and conclusive, and it's about as proven as any widely accepted scientific knowledge, from atomic structure to basic genetics. #
♦ No, it's not true that Judge Vaughn Walker is "openly gay", a claim widely made without question across right-wing media and even in some lesser lights of the mainstream media. Walker is the judge, appointed by the very Republican President Bush the Elder, who recently ruled in favor of gay marriage in California, and since there's nothing in his ruling that doesn't make legal sense, opponents have claimed that the Judge must be gay, or even "openly gay". He's not.
Judge Walker has never married, so who knows, maybe he's gay. He's never announced that he's gay, though, so by the definition of the words he's literally and factually not "openly gay". And of course, as others have pointed out already, his own sexual preference is only his own business. #
♦ No, it's still not true that President Obama is a Muslim, but thanks to a little photographic evidence (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) collected by New York magazine, it's at least an amusing lie. #
♦ No, when Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) claims that he hasn't changed his positions on key policy issues, it's not true. McCain is widely portrayed in the media as a politician of principle — on TV newscasts you'd think "Maverick" is his first name — but when elections draw near McCain is just another flip-flopper, with political positions that change as the wind blows. #
♦ No, it's not true that the problem of illegal immigration to America is exploding. If you listen to any Republican who's running for federal office or visit just about any right-wing leaning website, you'll get the impression that illegal immigration is a super-colossal panic-problem that's gotten a whole heck of a lot worse since President Obama moved into the White House, and that it's largely Obama's fault because he has refused to secure America's borders and has instead weakened immigration regulations and reduced border patrols and eliminated anti-immigration endorsement, etc.
That's pig snot.
The Obama administration has altered the Bush-Cheney era priority of staging workplace raids, as they've figured out that arresting illegal immigrants at work and deporting them accomplishes little beyond breaking up families — after all, the deported workers are not replaced by Americans, they're replaced on the job by the next round of illegal immigrants. Instead of workplace raids the Obama administration has, rather smartly in my opinion, made it a priority to arrest and deport illegal immigrants who are dangerous criminals.
The Obama administration has sent a large contingent of the National Guard to help patrol the border. The Obama administration has increased deportation of illegal immigrants.The Obama administration asked the Democratic-controlled Congress for a $500-million increase in border patrols, and Congress responded by authorizing $600-million. That's not including the $700-million that Obama administration has allocated to help Mexico beef up security on its side of the border.
So in the real world (as opposed to right-wing world), the Obama administration has not opened the borders and invited illegal immigrants to make themselves at home. "The illegal immigration problem in America is not actually getting worse. It's just that the people who like to say it's getting worse (despite the facts) are complaining about it a lot louder now".
They're complaining about it a lot louder, now that the President is Black and a Democrat. A lot of people believe with all their hearts that illegal immigration is getting worse, and that America's borders were somehow and suddenly opened wide when Barack Obama took the oath of office. By and large these believers are the same people who believe that President Obama is a Kenyan communist and a Muslim Marxist. #
♦ No, it's not true that seventy (70) Democrats in Congress are members of the Socialist Party of America. The notion is ludicrous and laughable to anyone who knows what a socialist is. Click the link for an amusing deconstruction of the claim, but the short version is that words like "socialist" sound scary to most Americans, so Republicans love to describe Democrats as socialists. Is it scary? Sure. Is it factual? Nope.
If facts matter, look up the word socialist in the dictionary. The only socialist in Congress is Senator Bernie Sanders, and he's not even a Democrat. #
♦ No, it's not true when Congressman John Carter (R-Texas) says that the United States is the only nation that affords citizenship to anyone born here, "whether you are here legally or illegally." Actually, what the right-wing calls "birthright citizenship" — you're a citizen if you're born inside a nation's borders — is the law in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Uruguay and Venezuela, and half a dozen other countries.
But it is true, as Carter later clarified, that such automatic citizenship is uncommon in developed countries. If he'd said so in the first place it would have made his point without a falsehood, which would have been such a breath of fresh air. #
♦ No, it's not true that Democrats are crafting a tax increase that would target Republican-leaning states. The kernel of truth, spun into lies, is that the Tax Equity Act would provide regional cost-of-living adjustments to individual income tax rates, so folks in poor areas would have somewhat lower tax rates than folks in wealthy areas.
Sounds like a dumb idea to me, as money is money and income is income, and I'd be against it. But I'd be against it on the basis of what it is, not on the basis ofbullsh*t. The Tax Equity Act is emphatically not an attempt to target Republican areas with higher taxes. #
♦ It's been debunked before, but it's a persistent right-wing lie — no, it's still not true that Social Security is bankrupt or teetering toward bankruptcy or fiscally unsustainable oret cetera .
Social Security is a remarkably successful and sound program that has kept countless millions of elderly Americans from dying in abject poverty. Its funding shortfall is minor, has been long predicted, and could be easily resolved by ending the rather boneheaded notion that Social Security taxes should abruptly stop after each individual reaches an annual income just beyond middle class. #
♦ No, it's not true that First Lady Michelle Obama wasted huge amounts of government money on an extravagant vacation for 40 friends in Spain. She did not attend a charity ball at their hotel hosted by Antonio Banderas and Eva Longoria. She vacationed with two (not 40) friends and their children, paid all her expenses (and her friends paid theirs), and she did nothing at all newsworthy.
The argument could be made that it's inappropriate for her to vacation abroad while America is in economic tatters and her husband is doing next to nothing to address such problems. Or that it's inappropriate for the First Lady to vacation in Spain, period. If you're buying the coffee and willing to listen I can make arguments like that all day — but such fact- or philosophically-based arguments aren't being offered in right-wing or even mainstream media. Instead we get lies and more lies. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Democrats' "Ticking Tax Bomb" will mean tax hikes for 94% of American small businesses. All Democratic proposals carve substantial safe harbor for small businesses. #
♦ No, it's not true that global climate change (global warming) is caused by a decline in solar cycles. Such claims come from people like Alex Jones, who have no scientific qualifications and no understanding of the issues at play in climate change. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration marked this year's anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan by apologizing for the attack. I wish it was true — the attacks were war crimes by any sane definition, targeting major cities instead of military facilities — but President Obama is very much a middle of the road politician, and it'll probably be another century before any American leader apologizes for the atomic attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama nominated Elena Kagan for the US Supreme Court as a reward because she somehow got nine challenges to Obama's eligibility dismissed. It's an ordinary helping of right-wing horse-pucky. Kagan has never had anything to do with the endless flatulent challenges to President Obama's citizenship and qualifications.
The lie comes from an infamous right-wing lie-spreading website, WorldNetDaily (WND), and the truth comes from the respected debunkery site Snopes, which we'll simply quote:
"None of the nine docket items cited by WND is about 'whether Obama is legally qualified to be in the White House'. The WND article simply cites the results of a non-specific search on all Supreme Court docket items containing the names 'Obama' and 'Kagan' and misleadingly claims them all as 'involving Obama eligibility issues,' without regard for the real underlying issues of those cases.
"The plain fact is that NONE of the nine entries cited by WND has anything at all to do with cases challenging Barack Obama's eligibility to hold the office of President of the United States, and most of them actually stem from cases which were originally filed against the federal government long before the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama..." #
♦ No, it's not true that Democrats or the Obama administration are proposing a massive, $26.7-trillion tax increase on the American people." That's a lie from Grover Norquist's big-money anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform. The basis for Norquist's shocking number, $26.7-trillion, is nothing. It's a number pulled out of his ass. As a recurring rule of thumb, when Norquist is involved, lies proliferate.
As for Sarah Palin's lie that the Democrats are plotting a $3.8-trillion tax hike, which she calls "the largest tax increase in U.S. history," you'll be utterly un-shocked to learn that's not true either. #
♦ No, it's not true that Christine Amanpour, the new host of ABC's talking head show This Week, mourned the deaths of Taliban fighters on her debut telecast. It's a particularly vicious smear propagated by the Washington Post's Tom Shales, and it's another flat-out lie. But you can rest assured that it'll be echoed across the right-wing for as long as Amanpour is alive, and revived to run in her obituary even if she lives another fifty years. Shales, of course, knows it's a lie, and he would've been fired by now if the Post was even a shadow of the great newspaper it once was, but it ain't. #
♦ No, it's not true that "in what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the US territory near Laredo, Texas." It's been a week since this bogus story "broke" on right-wing blogs, and there's still no reliable evidence to support it — no captive ranch or rancher, no plausible details or proper nouns — and the story has been denounced and debunked by local media. So unless it's a top secret "act of war", it's just another helping of right-wing bull.
If there's any consistent thread running through the right-wing bull buffet, it's that you ought to be frightened, angry, worried. Why is that? Why do you suppose the right-wing always wants people to be scared silly, furious, and looking over their shoulders? #
♦ No, it's still not true that when Barack Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he could not have been traveling as a US citizen, it's still not true that some elusive college transcript proves that Obama isn't an American citizen, and it's still not true that the US Supreme Court has somehow secretly announced that it will hear a court case challenging Obama's citizenship.
What's true is that President Obama's citizenship has been much, much more clearly and conclusively proven than your citizenship. What's true is that people remain remarkably stupid and gullible. What's true is that the President of the United States is a black man — and millions of stupid and gullible Americans have a really hard time with that fact. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama White House supported the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. It's not true, despite the Drudge Report's report. Imagine that. #
♦ No, it's still not true — no matter how often right-wing loons like Fox's Stuart Varney tell the lie — that tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans caused "gigantic increase in revenues". #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama's dog Bo has his own private jet. The allegation is bonkers on its face. If you believed this viral email, congratulations, you're almost unfathomably stupid. #
♦ No, it's not true that Barack Obama violated the federal Logan Act by campaigning for Raila Odinga during a visit to Kenya in 2006. It's a another claim right-wingers have invented out of whole cloth and as usual, it's completely false. #
♦ No, it's not true and Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) is lying when he says that "should Democrats get their way, every income tax bracket will increase on January 1, 2011. Every single one."
The Democrats' proposal will allow tax cuts to expire, as originally intended when Republicans passed these tax cuts under the Bush-Cheney administration, but Democrats have consistently explained that tax cuts for workers making less than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly won't be allowed to expire. #
♦ No, it's not true that reporters on a private email list suggested that the government should shut down Fox News. Bow-tied right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson, whose Daily Caller website is dribbling out the emails that were never intended for publication, is putting outrageous and exaggerated headlines on each collection of emails he's publishing.
As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein details, the credibility of Tucker Carlson is doubtful at best, and the emails themselves seem to be rather innocuous. Disregarding Carlson's intentionally misleading headlines, all I've ascertained from the 20 or so emails I've read is that a bunch of self-identified liberal or progressive journalists seem to be liberal or progressive. Film at 11, and lies at Daily Caller.
I should add that, like the Post's Klein, I have long thought of Carlson as one of the last conservatives whose integrity seemed to have survived intact. The more he hypes these purloined private posts when there's just nothing incriminating in them, the more I suspect I've been mistaken in my judgment of Carlson. #
♦ Yes, it's true that Muslims sometimes gather together to pray, even in New York. And yes, there are photos showing a crowd of Muslims kneeling and praying in — brace yourself — New York City. Muslims, however, have been kneeling and praying, often in large numbers, for as long as there have been Muslims. The notion that this is some new Muslimification of America brought about by Barack Obama is only another figment of the right-wing's perpetual paranoia, and their need to always be scared silly of anyone and everyone who isn't a white straight Christian Republican. #
♦ No, it's not true that Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has "frankly, never had a call from" the Obama administration. That's what Perry has claimed on the right-wing propaganda channel, Fox News, presumably because he knew his line wouldn't be challenged there, but the public record — including press releases from Gov Perry's office — is littered with records of phone calls from the Obama administration to Governor Perry's office. As Politifact says, "Pants on fire!" #
♦ No, it's not true, despite a seemingly orchestrated chorus of Republicans making the claim, that the deficit has more than tripled since Barack Obama took the Presidential oath. "Here's the reality: when Bush/Cheney left office, they left behind a $1.3 trillion deficit. We don't yet know exactly what this year's deficit will be, but most estimates point suggest it'll be about $1.4 trillion." #
♦ No, it's not true that allowing the Bush-Cheney era tax cuts to expire would be a crushing blow to small business in America. Far and away the vast majority of small business owners wouldn't feel a thing, because virtually all of the Bush-Cheney tax cuts were designed to benefit only the wealthiest of the wealthy.
Also worth noting and debunking is the claim by many Republicans and right-wing sympathizers that allowing these ill-advised and deficit-building tax cuts to expire, as they're scheduled to expire, amounts to a Democratic tax increase. Sigh, and no. These tax cuts were proposed and passed by a Republican-controlled Congress, signed into law by a Republican President, and these Republican-written tax breaks for the rich included an expiration date — which is now. #
♦ No, it's not true that Shirley Sherrod, a black Georgia-based US Department of Agriculture bureaucrat, used her position to deny help to struggling white farmers. In fact, it's rather flamboyantly and obviously untrue, but she's been fired nonetheless by the Obama administration, and specifically by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, an unfairness which deserves more attention.
Since the lies in this matter are rather routine for America's right-wing, let's take a moment to look at this mess. First, the damning video comes from Andrew Breitbart, who has a long and growing track record of distorting the truth. He is, for example, the key funder of video liar James O'Keefe, whose lies and misleadingly edited video brought down the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Your second clue that you're being lied to is that Breitbart's video is heavily edited, which is always a red flag for anyone who cares about the truth.
Breitbart's biggest lie, though, is the made-up story that in the video, Sherrod is describing her work for the Dept of Agriculture. That's a lie and Breitbart must know it's a lie. Sherrod's speech described events from more than two decades ago, when she was working for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, a group set up specifically to help struggling black farmers. She described her reaction when a struggling white farmer came pleading for help at this co-op set up to help struggling black farmers. She says she was taken aback at first, but came to see, more than two decades ago, that struggling farmers should be helped regardless of their color. "It’s not just about black people," she said, "it’s about poor people."
Is that offensive to you? Is it hard to understand that she might be taken aback by a white guy asking for help? Are you shocked and outraged by the story? I'm sure not. To me it's an inspirational story about someone learning a worthwhile lesson, and obviously that was Shirley Sherrod's intent in telling it. Breitbart's intent, in editing and distorting her words and lying about the circumstances and her point, is pretty obvious, too.
I'll close this entry by quoting someone smarter than me, SusieMadrik, aka the Suburban Guerrilla, who is spot on as usual: "I can’t do anything about the media, or the gutless administration, but I can remind you that whenever a scandal is ginned up like this by the right-wing attack machine, IT IS ALWAYS A LIE. It may be a lie wrapped around a minute speck of truth, but that only makes the lie more plausible. It is still a lie." #
♦ No, it's not true that Muslims are building a mosque at the site of the former World Trade Center in New York.
First, the proposed building is primarily a community center for local Muslims, not a full-scale place of worship. Calling it a mosque is like calling a YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) facility a church. You could schedule prayer meetings or a Bible study in a room at the Y, and there will undoubtedly be organized prayers and Koran readings at this community center, but you wouldn't call the Y a church and it's misleading — intentionally misleading — to call this planned community center a mosque.
Second, it's not "at Ground Zero", as the angry crowd claims. At the hole in the ground where the World Trade Center used to stand, a new skyscraper is under construction, and it will include a 55,000 square foot shopping mall — so we're not really talking about anything "sacred" or "hallowed", are we? The proposed community center that the right-wing is almost literally up in arms about will be more than two blocks away from the sacred shopping mall and skyscraper, in an area cluttered with pawn shops, strip joints, and fast food franchises. It will definitely class up the place.
There's very little truth in what Republican fearmongers are saying about this matter, and this advertisement, which was "paid for by National Republican Trust PAC", amounts to little more than a shameful hate video. Republicans who believe in freedom of religion — are there any? — should demand an apology.
Freedom is what makes America worth pledging allegiance to. Freedom means Americans who are Muslims have the same rights as American Baptists and American Methodists, including the right to worship whatever god they choose or no god at all, and the right to build whatever buildings meet zoning approval. These are baseline American values, and anyone who's arguing against the "Ground Zero mosque" that isn't a mosque and isn't at Ground Zero is arguing against American values and the American Constitution. #
♦ No, it's not true that Democrats' proposals for clean energy legislation would "cost every family in this country about $4,000 more for utility bills." That's Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana), lying as he often does. According to estimates from people who are paid to do the math impartially, the proposals would cost the average American family about $83 per year.
If you don't think the clean energy legislation is worth $83 per year, make your arguments. We're big fans of political arguments, and not at all enamored of this legislation, so why can't Congressman Burton make honest arguments against this bill, instead of pulling a ginormous number like $4,000 out of his ass? #
♦ No, it's not true about Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), if you read it at the anti-Reid website set up by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (part of the Republican Party). Click the link to have the lies debunked, one by one.
I abhor Senator Reid. Inexplicably, he's been given the post of Senate Majority Leader, and in this leadership post he's time and time again shown that he shouldn't have a leadership post. Senator Reid is the living embodiment of every stereotype of a Democrat — he's spineless, principle-deprived, known mostly for compromising on every piece of legislation, and then compromising on his compromises, until the resulting legislation is basically last week's garbage, like the mushy, corporate-friendly health care reform and so-called financial reform. If I lived in Nevada I'd be looking at the independent candidates, because there's just no way in Hell that I could vote for Harry Reid.
Lying about Reid's record to make him seem even worse than he is just seems like overkill, but I swear, if Republicans couldn't lie with impunity they'd have nothing at all to say. #
♦ No, it's not true that the long-ago US administrations of Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower orchestrated the mass deportations of millions of illegal immigrants. Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower never did any such thing, nor did they try to. It's just a lie, made up to fool fools. If you bought it, congrats, you're the intended audience.
Mass deportations are always a popular idea in certain circles, but enacting such a policy would cost budget-breakingly huge amounts of money for more prisons, more bureaucrats, more cops, more guards, more guns, more lawyers, more informants, more courts, and of course, more bus tickets. Practically speaking, it couldn't be done without reducing the foundations of freedom for the rest of us — you know, we the people — and without destroying American agriculture, further sinking the American economy, ripping apart families, and constructing large numbers of prison camps that would look (and be) just like the "round us up" prison camps right-wingers are always scared silly about. #
♦ No, it's not true that “the Obama administration is offering incentives to Kenya to approve a controversial new constitution that would legalize abortion for the first time.” The sources for this canard are the usual heavily-biased right-wing outlets, like anti-abortion groups, anti-Obama groups, the Washington Times, etc. The facts have been twisted and distorted for maximum shock value, leaving the truth in the dust. Click the above link for full details. #
♦ No, it's not true that there's something fishy in the Justice Department's decision during the Bush-Cheney administration not to prosecute a tiny, un-influential left-wingnut group called the New Black Panthers over exaggerated allegations of voter intimidation.
The claim is ludicrous on its face — voters were deterred from voting, because black people were standing outside a voting place and one of these black people was purportedly holding a nightstick? Would you turn tail and head for home instead of voting, if you saw a black man carrying a nightstick? I suppose racist white cowards might scatter, but I've seen the footage and I would've said "howdy" as I walked past those guys. I wouldn't have been afraid. Most people wouldn't have been afraid, since these people weren't doing anything scary. There is, please note, nobody who says he or she was intimidated into not voting — which is, of course, why no charges were filed.
Fox News has hyped the hell out of this microscopic event, but can you can even call it an "event" when nothing happens? Fox News has covered this story ninety-six times, so far. Ask yourself: Why would Fox News do that?
The Black Panthers of the 1960s and '70s were scary to whites and still are, and the New Black Panther Party wants to build on that scariness, but are they really scary? This new group calling itself Black Panthers is a tiny collection of wingnuts, a group with perhaps three dozen members nationwide. Your local PTA has larger meetings than the New Black Panthers could muster. With all due respect to black radicals everywhere, if you're afraid of the New Black Panthers you must be living your entire life quivering in fear. I mean, heck, I live in a mid-sized American city, and virtually everywhere I go I see young black men standing around. Also, young black women and old black men, and men and women of other colors. People are always standing around, but even people carrying a stick are not scary to sane observers.
The New Black Panthers barely exist, and the allegations of their "crimes" are spectacularly un-newsworthy and un-substantiated. Fox's repeated trumpeting of this "scandal" amounts to nothing but fearmongering and racism aimed at an audience that fears black men in general.
As an aside, please note that the Republican Party has a long pattern of using numerous well-orchestrated operations to suppress and intimidate Democratic and black voters. Click and become informed about a scandal far more factual than the supposed "intimidation" some people believe happens when a black man holds a stick. #
♦ No, it's not true that Democrats or Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) stole his seat through some fraudulent or illegal manipulation of the vote counting. The accusation is not credible, and doesn't withstand any reasonable inquiry. If there was any slight shred of evidence to support this or any of the other claims of Democratic Party shenanigans in the razor-close 2008 Senate election, the Republican Party would still be suing. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite b.s. claims from the National Right to Life Committee, that the Obama Administration is underwriting $160 million in abortion funding in Pennsylvania. #
♦ No, it's not true that tax cuts basically pay for themselves by somehow magically spurring the economy with waves of hiring and spending and fairy dust. This has become a standard Republican talking point in recent years as Republicans have walked away from reality, but it's sheer silliness to anyone who has even the barest understanding of economics. As Ezra Klein says, "it's hard to see the country prospering when one of its two major political parties is this economically illiterate." #
♦ No, it's not true and it's truly becoming tiresome to hear that President Obama is anti-business, or anti-capitalist, or a socialist. The Obama administration has bailed out ginormous and criminal corporations from General Electric to Bank of America — is that something a socialist or anti-capitalist would do?
Certainly, the Obama administration has crafted some regulations for big business, and any regulation at all is an enormous about-face from from the Bush-Cheney era of complete crony capitalism. But broadly speaking, from mining rules to health care reform or financial reform and everything else, these new regulations are tissue-tough. They've been written in close collaboration with big business for a comfy-cozy fit, and again, is that something a socialist or anti-capitalist would do?
A long, loud sigh. The only people who could possibly believe that Obama is anti-business, anti-capitalist, or socialist are people who have no concept of what the words business, capitalism, and socialism mean. Nobody beyond the lunatic fringe and the propaganda front sees any hint of anything anti-capitalist or pro-socialist in the Obama administration, so it's a notion you simply won't see from a serious newspaper or any other news source that's at all tethered to reality.
Ask a sane, knowledgeable observer of politics — in other words, ask someone who doesn't work for Fox News — whether President Obama is a pinko capitalism-hater. The honest answer is that Obama is noticeably (but not a lot) to the left of George W Bush, a little to the right of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.
Barack Obama is not Fidel Castro, not Che Guevara, not even Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Cripes, I wish he had a fraction of Roosevelt's gumption and guts, but no — Obama is the yellow line down the middle of the road. There's never been anything even slightly "anti-capitalist" about him. #
♦ No, it's not true that the US Navy hasn't been called to assist in BP's ongoing Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. The Navy has been involved in the response right from the start. Glenn Beck's claim that they hasn't been there and isn't there is, like a lot of things Beck says, flat-out false. #
♦ No, it's not true that there's been a rash of beheadings and other savage violence across the deserts of Arizona, due to the crimes of illegal immigrants. It's a frightful but evidence-free story told by the state's Governor, Jan Brewer, but actually, violent crime is down.
We'll just add the obvious — when people lie, other people ought to stop believing them. #
♦ No, it's not true that the US Constitution was based on the Biblical book of Deuteronomy. The notion is laughable, Glenn Beck's claims are ludicrous, and fake historian David Barton is just plain wrong.
We've said this before and we'll certainly need to say it again: A lot of America's so-called "conservatives" don't believe in the separation of church and state. They think it's a bad idea, and they think it isn't in the First Amendment. They want to make America literally and legally a Christian nation, and they're willing to tell enormous lies (like, the Constitution is based on the Bible) if it adds credence to their kookiness. When you hear such rot, please stop and think. #
♦ No, it's not true that an obscure federal law called the Jones Act must be repealed to speed the response to BP's Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe.
Why are so many Republicans lying so loudly about this? Beats me, but the Jones Act, passed into law ninety years ago, "requires that all goods transported between US ports be carried on US-flagged, US-built and US-owned ships crewed by US citizens or permanent residents", and thus it has no meaningful relevance to the Gulf emergency. None. Zip. Zero.
There are of course valid, factual criticisms to be made about many aspects of the Obama administration's middling response to the greatest man-made environmental disaster in human history. Most obviously, we continue to criticize Obama's bizarre and inexplicable choice to leave BP in charge of the day-to-day response, month after month, which effectively ensures that the oil conglomerate's profitability is a paramount concern in every decision. We don't think BP's bottom line should be part of the equation in any decision regarding the response to this ongoing and worsening crisis.
But instead of such valid, factual, and common sense criticisms of the Obama administration's response, Republicans offer bald-faced lies like "Obama should suspend the Jones Act". And worse lies, including preposterous claims that Obama and radical environmentalists have sabotaged Gulf cleanup to advance their radical socialist agenda, or that President Obama "wanted" the Gulf oil disaster or "likes" the disaster, or that the Obama administration has refused help from foreign nations, or that BP's Gulf of Mexico catastrophe is actually part of a conspiracy to round up and imprison thousands or millions of citizens in FEMA concentration camps. The lies never end. If your mind is working at all, it's enough to make your mind reel. #
♦ No, it's not true that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blown through $101,000 worth of "in-flight services, including food and alcohol". It's a deliberate misrepresentation of pertinent facts intended solely to create false impressions in readers minds — a lie, in other words — from WorldNetDaily, where lies are their stock in trade. #
♦ No, it's not true that a movie coming soon will portray Jesus Christ and his apostles as gay. It's not true now, it hasn't ever been true, and it almost certainly never will be true, but it's a lie that's been panicking fools for more than a quarter of a century. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration has refused the help of foreign nations in responding to BP's ongoing undersea oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. "Foreign governments have offered assistance, and the Obama administration has accepted it — this includes skimmers and boom from Mexico, three sets of Koseq sweeping arms from the Dutch, eight Norwegian skimming systems, and 3,000 meters of containment boom from Canada." And doubtless more assistance to come. #
♦ No, it's not true and it's been long-debunked that President Obama somehow loaned $2-billion to a Brazilian oil company to drill for oil in Brazilian waters, to benefit China. But the plain fact that it's plainly not fact isn't enough to stop Fox's Glenn Beck and Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana) from standing in front of nation-wide cameras and microphones and again claiming it's true. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama told Senator John Kyl (R-Arizona) that the Obama administration was deliberately neglecting border security in order to hold that issue “hostage” to comprehensive immigration reform. It's an absurd lie, told by Kyl and spread by right-wing media without any evidence, because it fits so smoothly with their lying narrative. And now, days later and with no media attention at all, Senator Kyl has all but admitted that he was lying. #
♦ No, it's not true that Social Security is bankrupt or in danger of going bankrupt. But it is true that Social Security is facing a funding crisis — its funding is imperiled by right-wing efforts to scuttle the program, and by a supposedly "non-partisan" committee that's holding mock hearings and will soon recommend the dismantling of Social Security. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Thomas Jefferson was so very Christian that he personally added "In the Year of Our Lord Christ" to Presidential documents as he signed them. The one known document that Jefferson signed with that phrase was a pre-printed form, and the phrase was pre-printed on it, so the claim is a knowing lie.
If this seems like a weird, insignificant thing for right-wing leaders to lie about, remember that the purpose of the lie is to add to the bigger lie that America was founded on Christian or Biblical principles, which is also untrue. There's a growing segment of the so-called "conservative" crowd that literally doesn't believe in the separation of church and state, and seriously wants to mingle the power of government with their religious beliefs. Be aware, and be worried. #
♦ No, it's not true that it was "an open secret" at the Honolulu elections office that the city and state had no proof of Barack Obama's citizenship. That's the claim of a self-described "senior elections clerk" for Honolulu who is, of course, full of baloney. He was actually a data entry clerk in the office, not a "senior elections clerk", and the kind of inside information he's claiming he had access to is simply not available to workers in the office where he worked. It's just another lie for fools to swallow, and swallow it they will ... #
♦ No, it's not true, it's just a lie made up out of whole cloth by Fox News, that President Obama has somehow "given back" a "major strip" of Arizona to Mexico. It's so absurd only fools could believe it, and it's headline news at Fox. #
♦ No, it's not true that the US constitution or government is in any way based on the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments. Of course, if you're stupid enough to take such a silly claim seriously, you're probably too stupid to be reached and too stupid to be reading our website, so go away. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite bizarre claims from Glenn Beck and fake historian David Barton, that the first American-printed Bible was published at the orders and expense of Congress for use in public schools. There are half a dozen variations on this floating around with the details slightly different in each version — and they're all falsehoods spread by people who simply don't want church and state separated, as the founding fathers did. #
♦ No, it's not true that the recently-passed health insurance reform will deny health care to senior citizens when they have "passed the age limit for treatment." It's one of the countless lies the Right-wing told about the legislation as it was being debated (if the word "debated" even applies when one side is telling nothing but lies), and now it's been revived by Congressional candidate Dan Fanelli, a Republican running in Florida.
It is possible and not at all difficult to criticize the new law without lying about it. The health care reform that passed is, in our opinion, incomplete, sluggish, much more to the advantage of insurance conglomerates than sick Americans, and far, far less than what's needed in America — health care for everyone. But right-wingers from Sarah Palin to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh to virtually every Republican in Congress have opposed the new legislation not by pointing out its problems but by making up outrageous problems that the legislation doesn't have. They've claimed it's everything from a government takeover of health care (far from it) to the creation of death panels (which already exist, in insurance companies' board rooms).
If you'd like an easy, reliable short-cut to debunking the right-wing's claims about health care reform, here's what sadly seems to be an iron-clad rule: If a Republican criticizes the Affordable Care Act with claims that sound frightening, strange, or dangerous, it's a lie. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 triggered, contributed to, or had anything at all to do with the economic collapse of 2008. This hogwash has been widely spread because the Community Reinvestment Act outlawed redlining, banks' then-common practice of refusing to make loans in black and poor neighborhoods — racism, basically, and the leading lights on the right-wing abhor anything that legally prevents racism.
Such loans, however, have proven statistically no more likely to default than loans in white or wealthy neighborhoods, and there's no evidence to support the rather absurd claim that a law enacted in 1977 led to a sub-prime mortgage crisis thirty-one years later. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration violated the law or even ordinary political protocol, by offering inducements to Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff to color their decisions about whether to run for office.
In our opinion, it's un-American, anti-democracy, morally wrong, and just plain infuriating to have the President of the United States using his power to pressure people not to run for public office. It stinks. But it's legal, and it's utterly routine in politics, and Bush did it, Clinton did it, the other Bush did it, on and on. #
♦ No, it's not true that BP's Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is part of a conspiracy to round up and imprison thousands or millions of citizens in FEMA concentration camps. #
♦ No, it's not true that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, while Dean at Harvard, replaced Constitutional Law classes with International/Comparative Law, and it's not true that this untruth means that she believes US law is subservient to international law.
Let's ask an open question of virtually all right-wing pundits, because this is really always the bottom line: Why can't you argue your perspective, for or against something (in this case, against Kagan), without lies and distortion?
I mean, Lord knows she ain't a great nominee — we're against her for real reasons we've detailed in our blog — but if you can't make your case without lying then there's something wrong with the case you're making. #
♦ Yes, it's true that President Obama isn't planning to personally lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery to honor veterans on Memorial Day, but it's not true that this is shocking or unprecedented or even particularly unusual for American Presidents. #
♦ No, it's not true despite Sarah Palin's claim (imagine that) that "Barack Obama was BP's top recipient of both PAC and individual money for the last 20 years." In fact, President Obama received no PAC money from BP during his presidential campaign, and only $1,000 during his 2004 Senate campaign. #
♦ No, it's not true that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan “violated the law” during her tenure as dean of Harvard Law School. #
♦ No, it's not true when Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) says Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan banned military recruiters from Harvard, or that she banned ROTC from the campus. McCain's charges are flatly false, and he can't be ignorant enough not to know it. #
♦ No, it's not true that violent crime has skyrocketed in US towns near the Mexican border. It's a scary tall tale that's repeated far and wide as if it's factual, but it's fictional.
FBI Uniform Crime Reports and statistics provided by police agencies, in fact, show that the crime rates in Nogales, Douglas, Yuma and other Arizona border towns have remained essentially flat for the past decade, even as drug-related violence has spiraled out of control on the other side of the international line. Statewide, rates of violent crime also are down. ... #
♦ No, it's not true that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in any way booted, banned, or barred recruiters from Harvard Law School. Horse pucky. Get the facts of the matter at the link above, or just repeat the smear — your choice. #
♦ No, it's not true that alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab "shut up" after being read his Miranda rights. It's a frequent but untrue talking point from people who seem to oppose the long-uncontroversial notion of informing people of their rights after they're arrested, a basic cornerstone of the American justice system and the American TV cop drama. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite Sarah Palin's Twitter comments, that President Obama is proposing a pay cut for troops. As has happened repeatedly, Palin is either misinformed, mistaken, or lying.
For the record, the Obama administration has proposed a 1.4% pay increase for American soldiers. It's not a lot, but it's bigger than the raise I'm getting this year, and it's a lie to call a pay increase a pay cut. #
♦ No, it's not true and Fox News' Sarah Palin is simply full of crap when she says that the US Constitution, US government, or US law is somehow based on the Bible or the Ten Commandments. It's a lie commonly told by people who quite openly want to make Christianity the official religion of US government. Anyone who knows the actual history of America's beginning and America's constitution understands that Sarah Palin and her ilk are lying.
The founding fathers, of course, specifically sought to avoid making America a Christian theocracy, where Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, and other non-Christians (or even Christians of some unofficially-accepted denomination) pay taxes to support religions beliefs they don't share, and where religious beliefs are enforced by law, by regulatory agencies, and eventually by police.
To see an example of how things work when the power of the government is commingled with the power of people's religious beliefs, as Palin and others want, visit Afghanistan. It's a theocracy, it's scary as hell, and it's the opposite of freedom, the opposite of America. #
♦ No, it's not true when Rush Limbaugh says that Alaska's Prince William Sound, site of the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, is now "pristine". As frequently happens on Limbaugh's radio show, he's making stuff up out of whole cloth. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite a false claim by former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), that the national debt is now "eight times" what it was under George W Bush, and it's not true, despite Rush Limbaugh's claim, that US debt tripled in the Obama administration's first year. These numbers and other similar claims from various right-wing leaders and pundits are bullsh*t.
Largely due to Obama's economic stimulus program and his administration's decision to move some of the ongoing Afghan and Iraqi war funding to the real budget instead of "off the books" accounting, the national debt has gone up about 20% since Obama took office. Twenty percent is not good, but it's not tripled, not octupled — and when people lie to you, it means they don't think you're very bright. #
♦ No, it's not true and Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) is just plain lying when he says "This administration and this Congress have been systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control." #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration sent out Secret Service goons to break up a tea party rally in the town of Quincy, Illinois. What little happened there was the completely ordinary action of local police — not a SWAT team — moving a crowd from one place to another for security reasons, in an orderly fashion, with "no arrests or physical contact between protesters and police". #
♦ No, it's still not true that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will require churches to hire gays, or lead to pastors being arrested in the pulpits for calling homosexuality a sin, and so forth. These are long-debunked lies from well-established lying groups like the Family Research Council, but it never hurts to debunk such rot again. Never hurts to ask again, why are these people lying about the facts of the matter, on so many matters, even as they claim to be so very Christian? #
♦ No, it's not true that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) coordinated its announcement of fraud enforcement against Goldman Sachs to score political points for the Obama administration. The SEC is supposed to operate independently of political concerns, and no evidence has been presented to suggest that this independence has been violated. At least one fluid ounce of evidence ought to be required before such an assertion can be deemed credible.
SEC Chair Mary Schapiro has denied the smear, President Obama has denied the smear, there's nothing even nominally unusual about the SEC's announcement, and again, exactly zero evidence has been offered to support the smear.
It's like saying that Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) is a sleeper-cell operative for Al Qaida, and that he keeps a small stash of anthrax powder in his tie clasp. Gosh, that sounds worrisome, doesn't it? Holy crap! Scary news! If Lieberman starts adjusting his necktie, you'd better run!
Or, you could show a little common sense, and realize that a wild claim offered without evidence is almost certainly bullsh*t. There's no evidence and thus no reason to believe that Senator Lieberman is a secret Muslim terrorist carrying a highly infectious disease, and there's no evidence and thus no reason to believe that the SEC is operating in collusion with the White House. #
♦ No, it's not true that former President Bill Clinton compared the tea party movement to the Oklahoma City terrorists. He did, however, rather eloquently point out the dangers of pumping bizarrely exaggerated political smears and lies across mass media, where "they fall on the serious and the delirious, alike; they fall on the connected and the unhinged, alike." #
♦ No, it's not true — whichever lies you've heard about heath care reform, they're just lies. At the link above, FactCheck.org deals with nine more right-wing lies about the legislation, and admirably does so without any vulgarities.
Here's a truism from my late grandmother that seems apropos: If someone keeps lying to you, over and over and over again, maybe you should stop believing them. #
♦ No, it's not true that the financial reform legislation proposed in Congress would establish "permanent bailouts". To be sure, the bill by Senator Chris Dodd (C-Connecticut) is a half-assed compromise with a half-assed compromise, and it doesn't do a fraction of what's necessary, but it certainly doesn't establish "permanent bailouts". That's just another lying catch-phrase that sounds convincing, so it'll be repeated ad nauseum, like "death panels" in last summer's health care debate. #
♦ No, it's not true that 47% of Americans pay no taxes. It's another talking point uttered into mainstream microphones and calculated to anger the audience, but as often happens with such outrageous-soiunding statements, the facts have been twisted mercilessly and the claim is basically bogus. #
♦ Yes, it's true that Congress and the Obama administration cut taxes for 98% of working people in 2009. This runs counter to what you hear on Fox News or The Rush Limbaugh Show, because the very few people whose taxes went up are fabulously rich, like Rush Limbaugh and the guy who runs Fox News. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite claims on the Rush Limbaugh Show and all over the right-wing blogosphere, that for reasons un-explained President Obama lied about attending his daughter's soccer game.
It doesn't seem to matter how obscure and irrelevant a lie about Barack Obama or the Obama administration might be — there's an audience that will believe the lie, so the lie will be told. #
♦ No, it's not true that the logo for Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit has been designed to show the Obama administration's subservience to Shariah law and Muslim ideology. #
♦ No, it's not true and it's absurd hyperbole when former Congressman Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) repeats the ridiculous Republican claim that Obama is "the most radical president in American history".
I wish it was true, wish Obama was even slightly radical — America desperately needs some radical course corrections, to live up to its well-publicized and beautiful ideals, instead of war without end, instead of letting corporate criminals get away with unimaginably huge financial crimes, instead of exporting American jobs to the lowest-wage corners of the earth, and so on.
In the real world, the "radical" rhetoric about the Obama administration is laughable. On every issue and with virtually every nomination, Obama has governed from the yellow stripe down the middle of the road. The only thing "radical" about the Obama administration is the radical level of lies right-wingers have told and continue telling about it. #
♦ No, it's not true that French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that American President Barack Obama is insane. It simply sounded so delightful to the hate-Obama crowd that it was repeated near and far, without anyone stopping to ponder that the source for the rumor is a Nazi-friendly wingnut site called European Union Times.
This provides a good object lesson in truth-mongering vs lie-mongering: At a responsible news operation, sources are checked and facts are confirmed, and if the source is a certified cashew nut or the facts don't check out then the "news" isn't newsworthy and isn't published. But if you're only interested in generating shocking headlines and lying to an audience dumb enough to believe anything, then nothing needs to be doublechecked, or even single-checked. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite Senator John McCain's claim, that he never considered himself a maverick. McCain has called himself a maverick so many times for so many years that his claim now, to have never done so, is simply bizarre and a little sad. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Affordable Care Act will lead to "higher premiums" for "most" Americans. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the legislation will not increase premiums for the vast majority of Americans, and for many, premium costs would decrease. But as right-wing lies go, "it'll raise premiums" is a big improvement over "death panels". #
♦ No, the right-wing's revisionist history of the United States is entirely hokum. Not content to make up fake facts that contaminate every corner of the present national discourse (see the rest of this page), the radical right has also been making a concerted effort to rewrite history. They're presenting an America where the 17th century settlers at Jamestown were doomed by their socialism (no, they weren't socialists), where founding father Alexander Hamilton was a state's rights advocate (no, he backed a strong central government), where red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) was a hero (no, he was a slime-slinger and liar), where President Ronald Reagan didn't raise taxes (except that he did), etc.
This article from the McClatchy newspaper chain succinctly puts the lie to these and a few other leading right-wing historical lies, and it's well worth the few minutes it takes to read. Tragically, though, the people who most need this history lesson are the people who'll immediately dismiss it as a communist or Satanist plot. #
♦ No, it's not true that the recently-passed medical insurance reform includes authorization for installation of a "implantable radiofrequency transponder system for patient identification and health information" in patients' brains. It's also not true that a little-noticed provision funnels $7-billion in tax dollars to build jungle gyms, and not true that the legislation "mandates on-the-job breast feeding", and not true that the law compels Americans to undergo additional vaccinations.
La di da, la di da. It boggles the mind to stop and ponder what a remarkably different debate the nation could have had about health care reform, if we could have discussed the facts of the matter instead of constantly dealing with the right-wing's non-stop made-up mountains of manure. #
♦ No, it's not true that under the recently-enacted reform to student lending, students will "only be able to get" loans "through the government". That's what Gretchen Carlson says on Fox News, but it's untrue. The law ends a program that both paid banks to make these loans and guaranteed the loans if students defaulted. Banks will still be able to make loans to students, but they'll have to do it the capitalist way, by assessing the application and taking on the risk themselves. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Internal Revenue Service will be hiring 16,500 new agents to ferret out Americans who don't purchase health insurance. Like almost every right-wing claim about the Obama administration's new regulations on medical insurance, it's a hyperbolic exaggeration of a partisan claim that just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. "The law requires the IRS mostly to hand out tax credits, not collect penalties. The claim of 16,500 new agents stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation." #
♦ No, it's not true and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is lying when he claims that college loan reform passed by Congress in 2010 will raise interest rates that students pay. #
♦ No, pretty much everything that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) says about the cost of health insurance reform is bovine excrement. A good rule of thumb is, when Congressman Ryan talks about taxes or economics, he's lying. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama "made up" a Hawaiian earthquake that never happened. Even though Fox News doesn't remember it, a major earthquake hit Hawaii in 2006. #
♦ No, there's nothing unconstitutional or much out of the ordinary about the Congressional strategy called "deem and pass", currently being used to move health care reform through the House. It's business as usual in Congress, part of the way the government does its work — people who tell you it's outrageous or unprecedented are liars.
"In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times." #
♦ No, it's not true that The New England Journal of Medicine surveyed health care providers and found that 46 percent of doctors said "they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform." Fox News is reporting this tidbit, so it's being echoed all over the right-wing as a new talking point against health care reform, but as often happens on that channel, it's not true.
The survey wasn't produced by The New England Journal of Medicine — it was taken from a "free advertiser newsletter" whose polling questions haven't been revealed, and whose content is "produced by physician recruiting firms and other independent groups involved in physician employment". Not quite the same thing, and not quite a scientific poll. #
♦ No, despite the false claims of syndicated columnist Mona Charin, it's not true that the pending health insurance legislation requires "racial and ethnic quotas for medical schools and other federal contractors." Your guess is as good as mine for where Charin got this wild idea — there's nothing remotely akin to this in the bill, but that hasn't stopped this false claim from being repeated widely in right-wing media. #
♦ No, there's basically nothing true in Sarah Palin's latest complaints about health care reform. Either she doesn't understand the issues or she's simply lying. Her most recent factually false statements on this topic are concisely and completely debunked at the above link. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would "impose homosexuality and silence Christianity in workplaces", or bring men dressed as women to teach your children in public schools. That's the claim of a purportedly Christian group called the Traditional Values Coalition, which has a tradition of issuing lies, usually including anti-gay propaganda, to back a regressive agenda. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration plans to ban sport fishing. It's hard to believe that anyone past first grade would believe this fish story, which seems to have started at ESPN (not usually the channel where smart folks turn for political news). It's been echoed at Fox Business Channel and by Rush Limbaugh and the tall tale seems to be reverberating around every corner of the right-wing nutzoid media.
It's bogus, and I'm not even going to bother debunking this lie, since it's absurd on its face and it auto-debunks itself. Perhaps there's a sliver of truth somewhere behind the smoke, mirrors, and bullsh*t — maybe someone somewhere has proposed that fishing access to a polluted or depleted stream in New Jersey or Ohio should be restricted, though even that seems unlikely. But I'll wager my next paycheck that there's not going to be anything that anyone could sanely call a ban on sport fishing in America, or in any state or county in the nation. Picture me rolling my eyes. Treating this as if it's serious enough to debunk it would be like seriously debunking claims that the moon is made of bubble gum. Gimme a break. If you're actually wondering whether this whopper is true, you are too stupid to be allowed out of the house without adult supervision.
Addendum, a few days later: PolitiFact offers a more patient and detailed debunking, and concludes that Rish Limbaugh "has taken an early discussion about the use of waterways and twisted it to make it sound like Obama is outlawing a popular pastime. While the panel's recommendation could change fishing practices in some areas, the framework is still in draft form; the administration has not made any final decisions on what the framework will look like. But Limbaugh is grossly distorting the truth. Pants on Fire!" #
♦ No, it's not true that climate scientists at East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit inappropriately adjusted certain tree-ring temperature proxy data to provide a better match with instrumental temperature record. #
♦ No, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), numerous other politicians, and several Catholic bishops are either mistaken or lying about abortion funding in the proposed health insurance reform legislation. There's nothing in the legislation that changes the almost-blanket banning of federal funding for abortions, which is allowed only in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother's life. Those are the ground rules of current law, called the Hyde amendment, and the current bill not only doesn't challenge or change that, it in fact reiterates that ban.
So we're all watching Stupak as he takes a grand stand against abortion, while abortion is not even peripherally the issue. It's like he's blocking lunch because he's opposed to eating tuna — when tuna is not on the menu, when there's already a rule against bringing tuna into the kitchen, and when the chef is reiterating that the rule against tuna won't be challenged or changed. The health care reform legislation changes nothing about federal funding of abortion, so Stupak's grandstanding against abortion to block any and all health insurance reform is fundamentally dishonest. #
♦ No, it's not true that there's something suspicious or shady or un-American about lawyers working for the defense of the accused. A handful of lawyers who now work at the Justice Department worked earlier to defend prisoners at Guantanamo, as did a handful of lawyers during the Bush-Cheney administration. And that's something these lawyers should be proud of — their work led the Supreme Court to rebuke numerous Constitutional violations, meaning, these lawyers successfully defended the Constitution.
So it's curious that the people most distressed by this are the same right-wing crowd that claims to care about the Constitution. Let's re-read the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, shall we?
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."
Got that? A lawyer for the accused is in the Bill of Rights, which is part of the Constitution. The right to legal defense, then, is literally more American than apple pie, since apple pie isn't mentioned in the Constitution. The right to legal defense is a cornerstone of the American system of justice, and the bizarre insinuation that it's wrong for attorneys to defend the accused is itself suspicious, shady, and un-American. #
♦ No, there's nothing out of the ordinary about using the process called reconciliation to pass legislation. In truth, health insurance reform has already passed in both the House and the Senate, and reconciliation, very briefly explained, is the ordinary process for ironing out minor differences between the House and Senate versions. It's done through majority vote, and a majority vote sounds like democracy to me. How scary is that? Not very scary.
Here's a graph that might help you visualize the large-scale hypocrisy you're hearing when Republicans complain about "unprecednted" reconciliation. Simply put, reconcilition is very, very precedented — it's so routine that anyone calling it a "nuclear option" is spewing nothing but hot air and hoo-hah. #
♦ No, despite a viral email campaign, it's a lie that Barack Obama didn't really attend Columbia University. The underlying assumption of this and so many other similar rumors, of course, is that a black man couldn't possibly be smart enough to attend Ive League schools, but could be smart enough to convincingly fake such credentials (though the latter would seem much more difficult).
Simply put, only fools believe such claims. #
♦ No, the right-wing's claims that no jobs were created by the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus legislation is false and absurd. As scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation is estimated to have created up to 2.1 million jobs in the last quarter of 2009. In the real world, there are no credible economists or observers who doubt that the stimulus created millions of jobs, and wouldn't it be a refreshing change of pace if political observations were based in the real world? #
♦ No, TV millionaire Donald Trump was lying or mistaken when he said that the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 has been the "coldest winter ever". According to the stats, it's among the warmest winters in recent history.
Of course, Trump is not a scientist, and he's under no obligation to tell the truth. And apparently, neither is anyone at Fox News, where Trump's falsehood has been repeated without challenge for days. #
♦ No, former Vice President Dick Cheney is not telling the truth about virtually any aspect of the war on terror and the prosecution of alleged terrorists. It almost doesn't matter what specific words you've heard from Cheney on these subjects — everything he says about how the government should handle or has handled the war on terror or the prosecution of alleged terrorists is either a flat-out lie, a far-fetched spin, or simply gives a false impression.
Fred Kaplan explains this in great detail at the link above, and with far more patience and politeness than Cheney deserves. Please, anyone who assumes that a former Vice President of the United States must know what he's talking about is strongly urged to click, read, and understand that Cheney is either woefully misinformed or — much more likely, since we respect his intellect — he's simply a pathological liar.
Let's present a few selected nuggets from Kaplan's article:
• Trying alleged terrorists in criminal courts — treating them in a legal forum as thugs, not soldiers — in no way precludes any US administration from going after terrorist organizations with the full range of the US government's power, as, indeed, Presidents Obama, Clinton, and, yes, George W. Bush have done.
• How many terrorists did the Bush/Cheney administration bring before military tribunals? Three. And only one of them was sentenced to life in prison. The other two were allowed to serve out their sentences at home — one in Australia, the other in Yemen — both while Bush was still president.
• Cheney claimed on ABC that "we" (meaning he and George W. Bush) "were successful for seven and a half years in avoiding a further major attack against the United States" precisely because they treated terrorism as a "war" and its practitioners as "enemy combatants." Yet as its own data clearly show, the Bush administration did no such thing. Or, rather, Bush and his Justice Department officials saw no contradiction between fighting a "war on terrorism" while, quite often, trying the terrorists as criminals.
• What Cheney has argued for, repeatedly and with remarkably misleading statements, is a restoration of torture and an evisceration of civilian control well beyond the point favored by even his own party's leaders and officeholders — even George W. Bush. #
Here's a video that briefly explains the hugeness of what the Daily Mail left out of its coverage, and here's an informative explanation from some real scientists.
And here's a reminder from me: Global climate change is settled science and it's real, and the people who keep telling you that it's not are, by and large, the same liars who've told most of the other lies listed on this page. #
♦ No, it's not true that First Lady Michelle Obama has stocked the White House library with socialist books. It's just a lie, yawn, like so many others. #
♦ No, it's not true that conservative prankster James O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he made hidden-camera videos in numerous ACORN offices. In all the publicly-released videos O'Keefe is dressed in an outlandish stereotypical "pimp" costume, but only in video filmed on the sidewalk. At some point he changed his clothes, and by the time he was actually inside ACORN offices and trying to "sting" the staff, he was dressed in a perfectly ordinary outfit.
If O'Keefe was a real journalist, the videos wouldn't have been misleadingly edited to suggest that he was playing a pimp inside ACORN offices. If he was a real journalist, he would have shown or at least told viewers about the numerous ACORN offices where his antics weren't taken seriously. If he was a real journalist, we would know who funded the cross-country filming tour for O'Keefe and his partner, Hannah Giles (daughter of conservative evangelist Doug Giles). #
♦ No, it's not true that global warming stopped in 1998 and the world has been cooling ever since. This video does a good job tracking down the single wingnut who made that bogus claim, which has been repeated ceaselessly by climate change deniers ever since. #
♦ No, Republicans are just lying when they claim that prosecuting terrorists in ordinary American courtrooms is something unusual or dangerous. There's nothing outrageous or even out of the ordinary about how the Obama administration is prosecuting the so-called underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. #
♦ No, contrary to conservatives' claims, big snowstorms don't disprove global climate change. A snowstorm doesn't mean science is a fraud. As explained briefly, we're going to see more snow, not less, because more precipitation — including heavy snowstorms — is a sign of global warming, as atmospheric moisture levels have increased with warmer temperatures, meaning more storms with heavy snow or rain. #
♦ No, it's not true that Sen Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) has proposed legislation the would establish universal voter registration, including votes for ex-felons and welfare recipients and oh my!
It sounds like a great idea to me. I believe people should be encouraged to vote and voting should be as easy as is practically possible — but for their own reasons, other people like to have a few hurdles in the way so that only people who bother to jump those hurdles get to vote. You could make reasonable arguments for the latter notion, and maybe that's a conversation we should have.
But instead of making those reasonable arguments, right-wingers like John Fund, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck are simply lying, because Senator Frank has made no such proposal. There's no universal voter registration legislation to oppose. When you hear or read about this proposal from Senator Frank, you're hearing or reading a lie. #
♦ No, the widespread right-wing meme that the underwear bomber quit talking as soon as he was read his Miranda rights is not true. #
♦ No, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is lying about health care reform. Coop, 93 years old, complains in the nationally-aired TV ads that under the United Kingdom's universal health care, senior citizens are considered "too old" to qualify for the treatments Coop has received in the United States, including artificial joints, a heart pacemakers and coronary stents. Copp is full of crap, and his claims about the British health care system are simply and inarguably untrue. U.K. guidelines make clear that patients of any age may such medical care, and in a recent year pacemakers were surgically installed at government expense in 47 Brits older than 100 years of age. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite columnist George Will's claim, that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would "abolish workers' rights to secret ballots". It's a right-wing talking point, but it's no more true today than the last time it was debunked on this page. It's untrue every time you hear it, which sure is often. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama used a teleprompter to address a class of sixth-graders at an elementary school in Falls Church, Virginia. Just another lie. Click the link, and expose yourself to some facts. #
♦ No, despite Investor's Business Daily's hokum, the Community Reinvestment Act didn't cause the current economic collapse. Click the link, for a detailed debunking. #
♦ No, it's not true that the International Criminal Police Organization (commonly called "Interpol") will be conducting investigations of US officials, arresting Americans, or whatever other nutty conspiracy theories are being falsely asserted by Newt Gingrich, Andrew McCarthy, and others. #
♦ No, the London Daily Mail's coverage of "global cooling", headlined "Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?" and gleefully echoed on Fox News and across the right-wing blogosphere, is wrong, false, and misleading, with made-up quotes attributed to a real scientist who isn't amused and doesn't at all doubt the facts of global climate change. #
♦ No, Sean Hannity is lying when he says (over and over again) that 2009 was the "coldest year on record." In fact and of course, 2009 was one of the warmest years on record. #
♦ No, Cliff Kincaid of the misleadingly named Accuracy in Media is just plain fibbing when he tries to link the right-wing's endless smears against education bureaucrat Kevin Jennings to the efforts of some crazed fake Christians who've tried to have Uganda enact a death penalty for homosexuality. The two controversies have nothing in common, except that both are constructed of lies and both are intended to make life miserable for gays and lesbians. #
♦ No, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and the usual gang of liars aren't telling the truth when they claim that President Obama is not “willing to use the word” terror. Obama has made some small effort to downplay the rather nonsensical term "war on terror" as a daily cliché, but he and his administration use the words "terror" and "terrorism" frequently. Of course. #
♦ No, it's not true that the lunatic birthers' challenge to President Obama's citizenship will soon be heard by the US Supreme Court. It's just a big ol' lie based on a typo-filled, clumsily edited, and simply fake Associated Press article, circulating as a viral email that ends with an upper-case scream, "Let other folks know this news, the media won't!"
We've received the same email half a dozen times, but it needs no debunking because it basically debunks itself. The alleged A.P. article doesn't read like anything you'd see in a newspaper — it's more like something a dimwitted junior high student might think makes a funny prank. We seriously invite you to click the link and read the phony A.P. article, so you can see for yourself just how stupid the liars think you are. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite uncorrected false statements at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government pro-blog, echoed falsely for days at Fox Nation and on Fox News, that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis recently visited the White House and got a VIP tour. Breitbart and Fox News couldn't be bothered to look closely at the name on the White House visitor logs, publicly released by the Obama administration, to see that the visitor in question was one Bertha E. Lewis, while the CEO of ACORN remains a different person entirely, Bertha M. Lewis. Several days after making their false report — and days after having their error pointed out publicly — neither Fox nor Breitbart has issued a correction. #
♦ The good folks at Right Wing Watch offer a moment of sad nostalgia, reminiscing about the frenzy of lies that swirled around President Obama's early-2009 economic stimulus package.
You might remember that the stimulus was anti-Christian legislation that would "intimidate the free speech of traditional, freedom-loving Americans ... [and] put a chilling effect on religious freedom in our country", and "discriminate against people of faith, [and] deny them the educational opportunities and access to public facilities." It would prohibit religious groups from meeting on college campuses or from renting space in public schools after hours... All lies, of course. Every word.
And there was more, so much more to fear in the stimulus package — it would funnel billions of dollars to ACORN, and give the federal government draconian control over health care, and build a high-speed rail line between L.A. and Vegas just for weekend gamblers, and Obama rigged the stimulus to favor Democratic-leaning states, and every stimulus job cost the government $275,000... All lies, of course. Every word.
Right Wing Watch wraps it all up rather eloquently. Pay attention, please, because this is the moral of the story:
"In essence, this entire charade perfectly encapsulates the method of operation for the Religious Right in 2009 and presumably for years to come: generate a phony controversy, raise money off that phony controversy, scream and yell about the fact that nobody is taking this phony controversy seriously, make bold threats and declarations regarding this phony controversy, and then move on to generating new phony controversies and starting the entire process all over again." #
♦ No, it's still not true, despite the lie's revival by Fox News and Anne Coulter, that as a boy Barack Obama attended a radical Islamic madrassa in Indonesia. #
♦ No, despite what Pat Buchanan and other right-wingers seem to be saying, it's not true that the explosive-underwear would-be terrorist can't be interrogated by investigators. Also, it's not stupid or un-American to give every accused criminal the basic rights promised in the Constitution — it's part of the rule of law, something that Americans of all political stripes presumably support, or should. #
♦ No, it's not true and right-wing activist Mary Matalin is lying when she claims that George W Bush "inherited"
♦ No, it's not true that Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a criminal organization hellbent on stealing elections. As reported in the New York Times (use our login: unknownnews with password unknown) "A new report on the community group ACORN by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has found no evidence of fraudulent voting or of violations of federal financing rules by the group in the past five years." No evidence, just endless evidence-free accusations and insinuations. Bottom line: ACORN is a non-profit group that registers lots of poor people to vote, and the people making those accusations and insinuations don't want poor people to vote. #
♦ No, despite the re-telling of these long-debunked lies on Fox News, it's still not true that Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet, nor did he claim to have been the inspiration for Love Story. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite the rather sad dissembling of ex-Vice President Dick Cheney and others, that the trial of accused terrorist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will give the accused a platform to spew propaganda for an audience of millions. Cameras have never been allowed in federal courtrooms, and for the audience of dozens in the courtroom, federal judges are notoriously impatient if the testimony wanders off-topic. #
♦ No, the stolen emails of scientists, which are being hyped by right-wing and Big Business voices as somehow proving that global climate change is a hoax show nothing even remotely akin to that. Sadly, global climate change remains disturbingly real. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama and the First Lady salute the flag with their left instead of right hands. It's just another photograph that's been clumsily tweaked to try to make the Obamas look disloyal, un-American, uneducated, or otherwise in line with the Right-Wing's apparently widespread belief that a black man can't be a good enough citizen to hold the Presidency. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite claims by some emailer who signed himself Theodore Petruna, that Mr Petruna heroically stood up to a large contingent of Arabic-speaking Muslims who first refused to follow flight attendants' instructions and later tried to storm the cockpit. The email went viral all over the internet, causing the airline to check its travel logs and passenger lists, determining that nobody named Petruna was on the plane and the incident involved one Spanish guy who, because of a language barrier, couldn't understand flight attendants' instructions. Nobody stormed the cockpit.
As always, when hearing such startling accounts, we recommend skepticism. Can anyone imagine that if a gang of Muslims tried to storm an airline cockpit, it wouldn't be all over the real newscasts? #
♦ No, it's not true, as Congressman John Carter (R-Texas) lies, that "4.7 million Americans will lose their jobs if the (health care) bill passes." It's just another grotesque lie. #
♦ No, it's not true and it's plain ludicrous for Republicans to claim that the stimulus was a flop or failure. President Obama's stimulus package was far too small for most thoughtful economists, but The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus saved or created 1.6-million jobs and boosted the gross domestic product by more than 3%. #
♦ No, Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) is lying when he says that health care reform could result in rationing of mammograms. And as political lies go, this one's more scummy than most, since it's designed to scare women. It's utterly, absolutely false, and Kirk is no dummy — he knows it's false. #
♦ No, it's not true and Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio) is lying when he says there's there's "a monthly abortion fee" for everyone enrolled in the public health care option, under the Senate's health care reform proposal. #
♦ No, the claim that the cap-and-trade climate change legislation would cost the typical American family $6,800 is another lie. #
♦ No, the claim that everyone who signs up for the public option will be required to get a chip implant is rather obvious horse manure. #
♦ No, it's not true that a bunch of emails stolen from scientists' accounts reveal global climate change to be a hoax. There's been plenty of hype and hysteria to that effect, but this latest purported debunking of global warming is bullocks, of course, like all the other debunkings, and cleverly timed to coincide with the big summit on global climate change. Sit down, folks. I hate to break it to you, but global climate change is real and the twenty minutes I've spent reading breathless summaries of the hacked emails convinces me only that scientists are human and that they aren't above playing politics — but my poppa was a scientist so I already knew all that.
I'll tell you what, though. I've got an old Oakland A's baseball cap that has several peculiar stains on it, and my wife would be happy to see it go. So if it turns out that these emails overturn all the science we've been reading for years and all the evidence that's been increasingly obvious to anybody with eyeballs and lo and behold it's all just been a big ol' hoax and the same right-wing and big business sources who lie about virtually everything else were telling the truth about this and the scientists have conspired to fool us all, I will squirt massive amounts of mustard and mayo on my baseball cap and eat it. And post pictures on-line. #
♦ No, the claim that cap-and-trade climate change legislation would require home retrofits is just another lie. #
♦ No, there's no chance that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, widely described as the mastermind of 9/11, will ever be free to roam America. Alleged terrorists have been tried and convicted in US federal courts many, many times. There's this thing called the US Constitution, which is usually given profound lip service by exactly the same people who want to circumvent fair trials for alleged terrorists. For all its shortcomings, we'll stand by the Constitution and the American system of justice. #
♦ No, it's not true that the cap-and-trade proposal to combat global climate change will cost the average American household $3,128 per year, or the less spectacular lie of $1,761 per year. "According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average would be about $175 per household — about the price of a postage stamp per day — which doesn't include the economic benefits associated with a new energy policy." #
♦ No, it's not true that the health care reform being considered in Congress would include health insurance for dogs. It's just another startlingly ignorant falsehood from the mind and mouth of Glenn Beck at Fox News. #
♦ No, it's not true that health care reform being debated in Congress would amount to "government-run health care". It's a lie that's been loudly repeated by leading Republicans for months, but at no time in decades has anything even vaguely akin to "government-run health care" been under serious consideration in either house of Congress. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite World Net Daily's claim, that Nidal Hasan, the Army officer who killed a dozen fellow soldiers, had been an advisor to the Obama administration's 2008 transition team.
You might ask yourself what kind of sicko makes up a lie like that just hours after such an outrageous act of violence? What kind of scum uses dead soldiers to falsely smear the President? Jerome Corsi, and World Net Daily. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama skipped TV coverage of the 2009 elections to instead watch a documentary about himself. It's just another lie, made up out of whole cloth by Fox News. #
♦ No, it's not true that the cost of stimulus jobs works out to $275,000 for every job created, or $230,769 per job. Such numbers, bandied about by prominent Republicans, show a scant understanding of the most basic basics of economics. #
♦ No, everything you've been told about Mark Lloyd, who's been nominated as Chief Diversity Officer/Associate General Counsel at the FCC, is a lie. He's not a neo-Nazi, as radio mouth Michael Savage has claimed, and he has not advocated kicking right-wing liars like Savage off the radio. Like virtually everyone in high-level Obama administration positions, Lloyd is opposed to restoring the Fairness Doctrine. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite claims all over the right-wing, that right-wing boogeymen Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright visited the Obama White House. #
♦ No, President Obama isn't about to sign a treaty ceding US sovereignty to the United Nations. It's just another lie. #
♦ No, it wasn't true in July and it wasn't true in August and despite the lies of Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) it's still flamboyantly false to claim that the health care reform legislation working its way through Congress will ban private health insurance. #
♦ No, it's not true that the swine flu vaccine is any more dangerous than the minimal danger present in all vaccines. #
♦ No, it's not true that many years ago Kevin Jennings, then a school teacher, counseled a 15-year-old student about his affair with an adult when he should've called the cops. The boy was 16 years old at the time — the legal age of consent, which makes his sexual activity a bad idea instead of a crime. Among honest people there's no confusion about this, since the facts were explained long ago on CNN, but the story is too juicy to be interrupted by facts.
Jennings, you see, has been appointed to a rather low-level position as Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. And he's gay. And he's worked for a gay rights organization. The far-right opposes him because he's gay, and that's why they're lying about him. #
♦ No, despite being seriously reported by Pajamas Media and in an impassioned edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, the so-called "thesis" by Barack Obama — full of disparaging statements about economic freedom and the Constitution — was a satirical piece. It was from a website that clearly marked it as satire, but somehow the word "satire" eluded Pajamas Media and Rush Limbaugh. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama White House tried to block Fox News from interviewing some high-level official. It's just a lie, made up out of whole cloth, by Fox News. #
♦ No, it's not true that Associated Press described then-Senate candidate Barack Obama as "Kenyan-born" in a 2004 article on the Senate race. Again, the tall tales about Obama's birth are all lies.
Again, Obama's papers are in order, and again, there's simply no reasonable doubt that he's an American citizen, born at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu on August 4, 1961. #
♦ No, again, President Obama isn't trying to confiscate everyone's guns, and most of what's in the latest mass-emailing about gun control, gun confiscation, and the supposed gun paradise of Switzerland is bullsh*t. #
♦ No, the swine flu (H1N1) is not tainted with antifreeze or Agent Orange, won't Gulf War syndrome, hasn't killed U.S. Navy sailors, and isn't an "evil depopulation scheme." The vaccine, which works under the same scientific principles as any other flu vaccine, is not required for the general public, and concentration camps are not being prepared to hold and punish those who decline. #
♦ No, it's not true that Obama's White House won't celebrate Christmas, and the tree will be called a “holiday tree”, and so on. It's just another lie perfectly ginned up to fool stupid and gullible people. #
♦ No, it's not true that interns from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are spying on Capitol Hill. #
♦ No, when Glenn Beck says 45 percent of physicians would quit if health reform passes he's being deceptive. But he's Glenn Beck, so I repeat myself. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite lies from the Gun Owners of America, that the health care legislation working its way through Congress "could be used to ban guns in home self-defense." #
♦ No, the Obama administration is not forcing a Catholic college to provide abortion coverage. It's just another right-wing lie. #
♦ No, supposedly frightening terrorist William Ayers didn't ghost-write President Obama's autobiography. #
♦ No, it's probably not true that noted socialist Norman Thomas claimed that America would unknowingly adopt socialism "under the name of 'liberalism.'" Makes a great conservative scare-point, but you won't find that quote or sentiment in the numerous books Thomas wrote or the more numerous biographies written about him.
Perhaps more to the point, let's briefly address the recurring right-wing scuttlebutt that President Obama is a socialist or a communist or a Marxist or some such. When we hear such claims, we wonder whether conservatives even know what those words mean.
This blog is published by a couple of real-live leftists, and our eyes roll at the suggestion that President Obama is a socialist or even a liberal in any meaningful way. The right-wing's perpetual hysteria and hatred for Obama must be based on something other than his political policies, because what the President's actual doing day by day continuing the war in Afghanistan, bailing out criminal Wall Street operatives with billions in taxpayer handouts, protecting the insurance industry, increasing the military budget, extending the Bush-Cheney administration's disregard for civil liberties, on and on makes the Obama administration a daily disappointment to genuine progressives like us. #
♦ No, it's not true that Democrats' health care reform proposals would tax ordinary wheelchairs. Sigh. #
♦ No, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) didn't fraudulently install Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) in office. #
♦ No, the government isn't going to require inoculation shots against the coming swine flu. The shots will be voluntary. So just like the similar scaremongering rumors about virtually every medical scare for as long as I've been alive, these rumors are unfounded, but you won't hear a word of apology from any of the kooks, survivalists, and the perpetually panicked who helped spread those rumors. #
♦ No, Barack Obama was never a member of the Black Panthers. The photo supposedly "being suppressed by the main stream media" is (rather poorly) faked, and the claim is yet another stark appeal to fear and racism. #
♦ No, it's not true that Christian televangelists, Christmas programs and carols, and Dr James Dobson are being banned from television by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). #
♦ No, virtually everything in the new ad from Conservatives for Patients’ Rights is untrue, just like virtually everything in their previous ad, and everything in their next ad. Like numerous right-wing pundits and politicians, they're opposed to health care reform, but unwilling or unable to make their case without lying. #
♦ No, Congressman Joe Wilson's heckling of President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress wasn't true. Wilson shouted "You lie!" in response to President Obama's statement that the health care reform legislation will not subsidize medical care for illegal immigrants, but the language in Section 242 of the House bill limits benefits to family members who are citizens or legal residents. Section 246 says plainly, "No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens. Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."
So, Congressman Wilson, you lie. #
♦ Maybe it's true that the Obama administration has more "czars" than any administration in American history, but maybe it's not it depends on how "czars" are defined. More to the point, though, it's unclear why it's so scary to some people that the President has unofficial czars.
First and most obviously, calling someone in American government a "czar" is nothing new — it's a catchy piece of slang invented by the media decades ago, and it's become a fairly common shorthand way to define someone's area of responsibility. The previous President, George W Bush, had a "food safety czar," a "cybersecurity czar," a "regulatory czar," an "AIDS czar," a "manufacturing czar," an "intelligence czar," a "bird-flu czar," a "Katrina czar", etc., and Glenn Beck wasn't bouncing off the walls about it.
Here are three things to bear in mind while pondering the "czar" nonsense:
1) None of Washington DC's czars actually have "czar" in their job titles (the Drug Czar, for example, is really the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy).
2) Having a czar for this and a czar for that is a bit tedious to the ear, but the word in itself doesn't grant anyone czar-like authority.
And 3) contrary to the emails and Beck-rants about this, most of Obama's czars have been approved by the Senate, as the Constitution requires for most high-ranking officials — and those who haven't should be, as Presidents since Nixon probably should have had all their "czars" confirmed by the Senate. But of course, whether Senate-confirmed or not, none of Obama's so-called czars are doing anything that wasn't done by previous administrations, and there's no evidence that any of them are trying to do anything unConstitutional, socialist, or Marxist.
Also, the underlying assumption that naming czars implies a Soviet or communist mindset displays an ignorance of history communists hated the czars, and deposed the last czar in 1917 with the Russian revolution. Suggesting that czars are a Soviet or communist thing is akin to suggesting that the Declaration of Independence showed America's loyalty to the Britain monarchy. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration is planning "a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites" including Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube.
What the White House has actually done is, it's announced that it's looking for a contractor to keep records of material posted by the Obama administration on such public websites, and of any responses from the Obama administration to comments on public sites. This is what's required by law, under the Presidential Records Act. #
♦ No, it's not true that the US Constitution bans our government from providing health care.
The Constitution neither bans nor mandates government-provided health care, but it does state unambiguously, in the preamble and again in the first sentence of Section 8, that Congress shall "provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States". It's from this that we get publicly-funded schools, publicly-funded fire departments, a publicly-funded Veterans Administration, and other government offices that provide for the common defense and general welfare of we the people, so there would be nothing un-Constitutional about government-provided health care. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama is going to "indoctrinate" schoolchildren on "socialist" ideology or his new "Hitler Youth".
The President is scheduled to give a speech next Tuesday, September 8, which will be televised to many American schoolchildren. This is not particularly common, but also not all that unusual. When President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation's schoolchildren in a televised speech, he used the opportunity to talk about his support for reducing taxes and his opposition to gun control. When President George W Bush addressed the nation's schoolchildren in a televised speech, he used the opportunity to push his agenda of education reform. When President Obama addresses the nation's schoolchildren, his speech will be on utterly non-controversial, non-political topics.
"The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning," says Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."
If that doesn't sound scary to you, if that doesn't sound like "socialism", you might wonder what off-the-wall group is falsely hyping this by "condemning President Obama's use of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda", and claiming that the President's speech will "justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President"?
Sadly, that's a press release from the Republican Party we're quoting. The Republican Party a once-respectable outfit where I used to be a member, that's sunk to non-stop lying about pretty much everything. #
♦ No, there's nothing to believe in a new television ad against heath care reform, in which Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele tells a breathtaking array of lies designed to terrify viewers. #
♦ No, it's not true and it's starkly preposterous, despite claims from radio star Rush Limbaugh, that President Obama is going to mandate circumcisions, or that men "need to save our penises" from the President. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite claims from several popular right-wing blogs, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has "banned patriotic music" while callers are on hold to their Congresspersons' offices. #
♦ No, whatever's being claimed about the House's health care reform legislation in the latest viral mass email, it's almost certainly untrue. FactCheck.org took the time and trouble to assess the 48 worrisome claims made in the mass email, and finds 26 are flat-out lies and 18 more are misleading.
If you're trying to understand health care reform (or anything) and you want the facts, a good first step would be disbelieving anything in a mass email. Ask yourself, who wrote and spammed this email to millions of people? Who stands to gain if you're gullible enough to believe what it claims? #
♦ No, the Obama administration is not building secret concentration camps to hold dissident Americans, and not planning mass executions of all Americans who criticize the President. Presumably the viral emails that claim this, echoed all around the internet, are intended for a readership that's willing to believe anything at all, so let's also add that the Obama administration is not preparing a cook book with recipes for charbroiled Republicans and sautéed white people. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite reports on Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal, that the Veterans Administration is advising US military veterans to kill themselves. The booklet in question was first published in 1997, and the section that's being willfully misinterpreted as urging suicide is only suggesting that vets receive the same ordinary counseling and care that's been standard policy for twenty years.
To believe this particular lie, you'd have to believe that as a matter of policy, the Veterans Administration wants veterans dead. The claim is so over-the-top absurd it almost debunks itself, but there is apparently no point at which such shameful jaw-dropping bald-faced lies are too enormous for Fox News and the Wall Street Journal to report them. #
♦ No, it's not true what you've heard about scary provisions hidden deep in the health care reform legislation.
It's not true that the legislation establishes "death panels" to determine who lives and dies (that's what insurance companies do), and it's not true that the legislation outlaws private insurance, and it's not true that the bill gives free health care to illegal immigrants, and it's not true that our government would be given access to your bank accounts and debit cards, and it's not true that abortions would be funded (which would actually be illegal).
This is a good, solid summary of what's actually in the House bill, which is the opposite of the tall tales told by Congresscritters and radio hosts and Fox talking heads owned by the insurance industry. We've been over most of this already and we'll doubtless go over it again, because the fountain of lies about health care reform never goes dry. #
♦ No, it's not true that President Obama's mother-in-law, who lives with the President and his family, is "practicing Santeria, an African spirit cult, in the White House". That was "reported" in a blog entry on the far-right website townhall.com, where a colorful ad at the top of the page says you too can "create your own blog" and have it published by townhall.com.
The blog entry goes into great detail describing conversations that never happened, naming no source and providing no evidence beyond being typed and on the internet. For me that's not evidence. How about you?
Of course, it's been widely circulated and quickly accepted by America's most gullible and stupid people Oh my God they're practicing witchcraft in the White House because it fits very well with the ever-present right-wing racist meme that Obama and his administration are bizarre and radical and not like the rest of America, hint hint. #
♦ No, it's not true, as the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming in TV ads, that the health care reform being debated in Congress would bring "big tax increases." In all versions of the legislation under debate, taxes would be targeted at the wealthiest Americans, a tiny sliver of the population that makes substantially more than $250,000 per year. #
♦ No, it's not true that proposals for health care reform would slash veterans' access to health care. It's just another lie spread by mass e-mailings from parties unknown.
We always suggest pausing for common sense if any politician suggested cutting veterans' access to health care, it would be wildly unpopular and instantly newsworthy, so you'd read about it in newspapers and hear about it on newscasts, not in a viral email. #
♦ No, it's not true that America has the best health care in the world. "There is one yardstick by which U.S. health care distinguishes itself: cost. The United States spends more -- in total dollars, percentage of GDP, and per capita -- than every other country on Earth. On virtually every other broad metric, the claim that U.S. health care stands for global excellence is demonstrably false." #
♦ No, to whatever Conservatives for Patients' Rights is saying in its ads against health care reform. Just, no. They're lying. #
♦ No, there's nothing in any of the health care proposals that would end your choice of health care provider, or let the federal government tap into your bank account, or have taxpayers subsidize free health care for illegal immigrants and community organizers, or anything else in the long list of lies that's currently being circulated in a mass emailing. These are all ludicrous claims aimed at the gullible and un-informed, because if Americans hear an honest discussion of the problems currently being caused by the lack of health insurance and by the health insurance industry, health care reform would be wildly popular and supported by virtually everyone but insurance company executives. #
♦ No, it's not true, as former Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) and others in the opposition have claimed, that the health care reform being considered would require the aged or the disabled to "stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." Of all the myriad lies we've tried to tackle here in recent months, this is perhaps the most vile and one of the most obviously untrue on its face.
Palin and other Republicans are intentionally distorting a rather un-shocking section of the proposal that lets doctors be paid for voluntary end-of-life counseling. Such conversations are of course unpleasant to think about, but good grief to prevent a dying or elderly patient from talking to a doctor about a living will or other issues involving death would be a horrid example of our government standing between a patient and his/her doctor.
But of course, this end-of-life counseling isn't mandatory, it's just available and it's been available and un-controversial for years. Of course, there are no "death panels". Of course, there is no proposed "program" administering "death counseling". Of course, this has nothing to do with forced euthanasia. It's not about killing Grandma, or ending the lives of the handicapped. It has nothing to do with anything remotely offensive to anyone who respects life or death, and pretending it's something evil is what's offensive. Of course. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite the fevered claims of Glenn Beck and others, that the Obama administration is using the Cash for Clunkers website to install tracking software on your computer. Click the link above for full details and debunking. #
♦ No, the proposed health care reform won't "hike your health insurance premiums 95 percent." That claim comes from criminal hospital executive Rick Scott and his anti-health group Conservatives for Patients' Rights, but the non-partisan Health Policy Research Center has evaluated the ad's claims and concludes, "There's absolutely nothing here that's right. It's unbelievable." #
♦ No, the purported Kenyan birth certificate of Barack Obama isn't real, and it's actually quite a clumsy, amateur fake, but practice makes perfect so we're confident that the next phony Kenyan document will be more realistic. Again, there's simply no reasonable doubt that Obama is an American citizen, born at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu on August 4, 1961.
I don't remember any concerns about Richard Nixon's birth certificate. I can't recall any questions about Gerald Ford's birth certificate. I never heard a whisper of doubt about Jimmy Carter's birth certificate, or Ronald Reagan's birth certificate, or George Bush's birth certificate, or Bill Clinton's birth certificate, or George W Bush's birth certificate. Those birth certificates were never seen by you or I or any of us, but were never questioned on national television night after night.
Barack Obama's birth certificate, though, is "different" ... because Barack Obama is "different". The difference is that a black man is now the President of the United States, and a lot of people can't stand that. #
♦ No, it's not true, as right-wing organ Politico and right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh and numerous Republican office-holders have claimed, that the proposed health care reform legislation will kill old people, promote euthanasia, encourage suicide, etc. It's just a shameless lie, and a particularly vulgar one. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite a headline on The Drudge Report echoed by Glenn Beck on CNN, that the federal government spent $1.4 million "to repair a door". The cost was actually $246,100, about one-sixth of what Drudge and Beck claimed, and the doors (meaning, more than one door) repaired were actually hanger doors at an Air Force base. Hanger doors, behind which airplanes are parked for repairs, are of course much larger, more complex, and more expensive to repair than the doors at your home or office. #
♦ No, it's not true, as Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio) and talk show host Rush Limbaugh have claimed, that the Waxman-Markey "Clean Energy Bill" will forbid the sale of homes until the property is inspected and brought up to snuff on energy efficiency. It wasn't true when Boehner posted this on his website, it wasn't true when Limbaugh mentioned it repeatedly on his show, and it wasn't true when you read about it in an email.
It's not nice to use words like "lie", so the good folks at factcheck.org simply say that Boehner and Limbaugh "got this wrong". #
♦ No, it's not true, despite a headline on The Drudge Report, that the Obama administration spent more than a million dollars buying two pounds of ham. "In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191 million, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound." #
♦ No, the hate crimes legislation in Congress won't suppress religious expression, it won't lead to prosecution of pastors who read or quote the Bible, it won't protect pedophiles, it won't legalize incest, voyeurism and bestiality, and it won't "undermine moral values, socialize the economy, and trash American pride and heritage", etc. The so-called "religious" right, including the Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, the National Prayer Network, Vision America, and the Traditional Values Coalition, is bald-faced lying about all such claims. Their claims are ridiculous and utterly false, but lying is one of their cornerstone "traditional values". #
♦ No, despite a false report from Investor's Business Daily, it's not true that the health care proposal winding its way through Congress "clearly states" that individual private medical insurance will become illegal. Even a cursory reading of the bill shows that Investor's Business Daily has mangled or misunderstood the legislation, but that hasn't stopped broadcast mouths Sean Hannity and Michael Savage and a startling array of big-time bloggers from echoing this false information.
To be clear: The bill does not ban private medical insurance, and nobody in Congress left, right, or center has proposed that. #
♦ No, the photo that's everywhere doesn't actually show President Obama admiring the rear of a young woman at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. What was actually happening at that moment? Even a cursory look at the videotape shows that President Obama was navigating some steep stairs and thus looking downward, as a young woman passed nearby.
But this kerfuffle does show something that's at least as interesting and perhaps more revealing than a woman's backside it shows how the media pounces on fabrications from generally disreputable right-wing websites like The Drudge Report, without pausing to consider the evidence in context. #
♦ No, it's not true, despite a breathless report from Fox News and in-depth follow-ups from right-wing bloggers, that the Obama administration is gerrymandering stimulus spending to give the lion's share to areas that voted for Obama, and giving short shrift to areas that voted for McCain. #
♦ No, President Obama has not apologized to Great Britain for America's Declaration of Independence. #
♦ No, it's not true that Kevin Jennings, who's been appointed to the rather low-level position of Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, is only interested in safe schools for gay children, or that he's "viciously hostile to religion", etc.
Jennings is gay, and he's worked for a gay rights organization. That's why the far-right opposes him. They think that's reason enough to block his nomination, but they know that most people wouldn't think it's reason enough, so they're just making stuff up, as ThinkProgess explains at length. #
♦ No, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is not suing to have Christian crosses or cross-shaped headstones removed or prohibited from the graves of Americans soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. This isn't even a matter where some small kernel of truth has been exaggerated into something that sounds scary. Like most of the right-wing's hysteria about the ACLU, it's just a bald-faced lie, intended to deceive the gullible. #
♦ No, the Obama administration isn't suppressing science by blocking publication of some study that demolishes what's known about global climate change. The guy who wrote the report is an economist not a scientist, and his report which wasn't assigned, but was written in his spare time cites all the usual climate science deniers. If you're ignorant enough to believe such claims, the debunking at the other end of this link is probably over your head. #
♦ No, the email echoing across the internet claiming that President Obama was rude to wounded veterans during a visit to the National Naval Medical Center is untrue. Where the President goes reporters follow, so if the President was rude to veterans, don't you think you'd read about it in a newspaper and see it on newscasts? #
♦ No, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) isn't going to be running or conducting the US census for 2010. Like virtually everything else you've heard about ACORN how they're a bunch of communists, how they're stealing elections, how they're connected to the Mafia or al Qaeda or both, etc. it's a lie. See also this ACORN debunking and this ACORN debunking. #
♦ No, it's not true, as Glenn Beck claims, that America is the only country where everyone born within its borders is a citizen by law. It's flat-out false. #
♦ No, it's not true, as George Will and some less famous pundits have claimed, that President Obama's persistent use of the pronoun "I" suggests he's an imperial autocrat. It's an amusingly long way to go to criticize the President, but the "I" claim has been analyzed by linguist Mark Liberman and it just ain't so. Liberman, a professor of Computer and Information Science and Trustee Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, has counted Obama's use of "I" in numerous speeches, and compared it with the frequency of "I" in speeches by Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and guess what? Obama uses "I" a lot less than either of his predecessors.
There are, of course, plenty of valid reasons to criticize President Obama check our main page, where we're always complaining about some dumb-ass or un-principled thing he's done. We just think that Obama and other politicians should be criticized for things they've really said or done, or for things they should've said or done but didn't, not for astoundingly un-important and un-true things they haven't done, like overuse of a pronoun. #
♦ No, it's not true, as politicians like Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) have claimed, that "we have no judicial precedents" for prosecuting alleged terrorists in American courts. He's concerned that Ahmed Ghailani, an alleged terrorist from Tanzania who has been in US custody since 2004, has been brought to New York City to face trial in federal court.
In reality, though, there is ample precedent for prosecuting alleged terrorists in American courts. Hundreds of such cases have been tried, and if Ghailani is found guilty he'll be the 217th person being held in American prisons for proven connections to international terrorism.
So what's different about Ghailani? Why are Republicans like Cantor so distraught over this? Ghailani is the first alleged terrorist to face trial in America after being held at Guantanamo, and most Republicans (like Cantor) don't want the prison at Guantanamo to be closed. If Americans can be convinced that it's too frightening to hold trials for these accused monsters, or that it's somehow unprecedented to imprison them in America, then Guantanamo can't be closed. Holding people for years and years without trial is, in our opinion, more frightening than the relatively routine prosecution and imprisonment of yet another terrorist. #
♦ No, it's not true, as former Congressman Newt Gingrich claims, that President Obama's stimulus package "is anti-Christian legislation that will stop churches from using public schools for meeting on Sundays, as well as Boy Scouts and student Bible study groups." That's a totally bonkers lie, and it should make any intelligent listener doubt anything that Gingrich says. #
♦ No, Canadian-style universal health care isn't what the well-funded voices who oppose health care reform in America say it is. It's not a horrible, dehumanizing thing, it's not weighed down by a bloated bureaucracy (like private insurance is); it's not more expensive (it's less), and there aren't long waits for ordinary health services. #
♦ No, President Obama didn't say that America is a Muslim nation. He said that America has lots of Muslims, which is true 34 nations in the world have more Muslims than America, meaning that about 160 nations have fewer Muslims than America but it doesn't make America a Muslim nation, and that's not what the President said. #
♦ No, Chrysler isn't playing politics by targeting dealerships owned by Republicans for closure, as alleged by Michelle Malkin, Washington Examiner, and in right-wing blog posts like this one.
First and foremost, try a little common sense, please while Chrysler has been less than brilliantly run in recent years, it would be staggeringly stupid and capitalistically counterproductive to base the decisions about which dealerships to close on anything but business factors.
Here's political statistician Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, who did the research to show that the overwhelming majority of car dealers are Republicans (and I can vouch for that, from several years spent working for a few different auto dealers, some years back). So there's no "Dealergate". 88% of car dealers' political contributions go to Republicans, so it would be wildly improbable if the overwhelming majority of dealerships being shuttered weren't owned by Republicans. #
♦ No, Sonia Sotomayor's Appeals Court decisions don't have a 60% reversal rate at the Supreme Court, as falsely claimed by the Washington Times and echoed by other highly-partisan sources. And no, she doesn't have a track record of racist rulings.
On her rate of reversal, let's do the math: Sotomayor has written 380 majority decisions in her eleven years on the Appeals Court, of which three have been reversed by the Supreme Court. That's a reversal rate of about 8/10ths of one percent.
On her alleged racism, two points need to be made. First, her comment that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences" would tend to reach a "better conclusion" than a white male judge is perhaps clumsy, but it's worth noting the context she was talking specifically about court cases on matters of racial and gender discrimination. It doesn't seem at all controversial to me to state that in discrimination cases, women and minorities would have different perspectives than white males.
But if you're worried about her "racism" on the bench, let's check her record, shall we?
Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times. Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred. (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.) She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims. Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor "allows race to infect her decision-making."
Bottom line: There are, we think, valid reasons to be troubled by some of Sonia Sotomayor's decisions. For example, in one case she decided that it's OK for a school to punish a kid for calling school officials "douche bags" in her off-campus personal blog. In another case she sided with a cop in a matter that sounds somewhat outrageous. But if your arguments against Sotomayor are built on fundamentally dishonest statements about her supposed reversal rate or racism, well, you're just lying. #
♦ No, the US Senate is not considering a bill to require that all household guns be listed on individual tax returns. There's a viral email making that and other claims and causing apoplexy among the gullible, but the bill it's referring to the Handgun Safety and Registration Act of 2000 was last introduced in the Senate nine years ago. It never got past committee hearings. It wouldn't have involved your 1040 paperwork. Also, it was nine years ago. #
♦ No, it's not true that the Obama administration burned the Bibles of American soldiers in Afghanistan. The facts behind the story are generally true Bibles printed in the Afghan languages of Pashto and Dari, intended for use by Christian soldiers proselytizing the citizens of Afghanistan, were confiscated by military officials, and trashed and burned. But it happened during the Bush-Cheney administration. #
♦ No, Social Security is not going broke. It's a wild exaggeration of a relatively minor funding problem, that could be fixed for generations by simply removing the "ceiling" on Social Security taxes, so that the tax doesn't max out and stop when an individual's earnings exceed $106,880.
Ponder the preposterousness of this people who make $250,000 per year, or $2-million per year, or more, pay the same Social Security tax as people who earn $106,880. Not the same tax rate, but the same number of dollars, so millionaires who obviously have many more dollars pay the same taxes as someone earning $106,880. If this tax ceiling was lifted or raised that is, if rich people were required to pay their fair share, the same tax rate that poor people pay, then all of Social Security's funding problems would be solved, overnight. #
♦ No, it's not true that the THC levels in marijuana have skyrocketed in recent years. It's a persistent talking point put forward repeatedly as an argument for the continued prohibition of marijuana, but there's little serious evidence that it's true, and increasingly potent evidence that it's false. #
♦ No, there was nothing either offensive or newsworthy about Wanda Sykes' performance at the 2009 White House Correspondents' Dinner, at least not by present-day standards of political discourse in America. Her jokes, crudely but comically suggesting that Rush Limbaugh is a terrorist or Sean Hannity is a coward, were cruel and mean-spirited, but they were utter puff and piffle compared to the outrageous allegations and insults that are a daily routine for Limbaugh, Hannity, and the other major blowhards on national TV and radio. #
♦ No, it's not true, as Washington Post columnist George Will claims, that Toyota sells its Prius at a loss. #
♦ No, as nasty as al Qaeda is, it's nowhere near the threat to America that the Nazis were in World War II. Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have said or insinuated that America has never faced a threat so dangerous as al Qaeda, but that's frankly preposterous. #
♦ No, President Obama didn't ignore or threaten to cancel the National Day of Prayer, and virtually everything that some far-right-wing pundits and alleged Christian leaders have said about Obama and the National Day of Prayer is a lie. The National Day of Prayer was pretty much never observed with White House ceremonies until the Bush-Cheney administration, and Obama's decision to not make a grand show of the National Day of Prayer is in keeping with Christ's teachings and in keeping with every administration before Bush-Cheney. #
♦ No, Oliver North didn't warn Al Gore about the dangers of al Qaeda in 1987. #
♦ No, Obama's "Intelligence Czar" Dennis Blair didn't endorse Bush-Cheney era torture tactics. In a leaked memo, Blair acknowledged that the Bush-Cheney administration's torture tactics may have rarely yielded some “high value information", but then added that the damage done to America by torture “far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”
Of course, the media and some right-wing sources have headlined this as Blair's "endorsement of torture", but any sane and fair evaluation of what Blair said shows that it's the opposite. #
♦ No, it's not true that Judge-nominee David Hamilton ruled that prayers to Allah in the Indiana House of Representatives would be OK, but prayers to Jesus are prohibited. That's just former Congressman Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) lying again. Hamilton's judicial comment was the opposite of what Gingrich says it was. Hamilton said it's inappropriate to invoke either Jesus or Allah in public legislative prayers.
That makes sense to me, because I believe in the separation of church and state. Perhaps Gingrich disagrees, but if so, he should tell the truth about what he's disagreeing with. Instead he's telling lies to convince Americans that Hamilton a boringly moderate, middle-of-the-road judge is somehow a radical supporter of Islam and opponent of Christianity. #
♦ No, H.R. 1913 would not have Christian ministers "prosecuted for preaching the biblical view of homosexuality". That's one of the overblown lies told by Focus on the Family, in their opposition to this hate crimes legislation. Another popular lie is the American Family Association's bull that this bill would legalize homosexuality, necrophilia, and bestiality. Why, we wonder, do people who preach morality so loudly, lie so reliably?
Look, there are reasonable reasons to oppose this legislation (or almost any legislation) but it's not smart to swallow monkey manure. If your opposition to this bill is based on lies you're a sap, and if you're telling the lies yourself you're a schmuck. As we often say, please read, skim, or scan the bill. #
♦ No, Congress is not considering legislation that would make new mothers pass a mental health test before being discharged from the hospital with their child. That's just a flat-out lie. Read the legislation it's quite short, it's not written in heavy legalese, and it doesn't mandate anything that's particularly scary.
The Melanie Blocker Stokes Bill, a.k.a. the Mother's Bill, a.k.a. S. 324 doesn't institute motherhood tests. It encourages the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promote better education about postpartum depression for expectant mothers and health care providers, including screening and diagnostic techniques, and it's hard to see how that's a bad thing. It's utter paranoia to jump from the bill's call for "screening and diagnostic techniques" to nutty claims that there will be multiple-choice tests for newborn mothers, or the bizarre notion that mothers in hospitals will be "told that the only way you can take your child home is if you or your spouse goes into treatment or on anti-depressants".
Again, please, just read, skim, or scan the legislation... and don't believe every overwrought email you receive or every bullsh*t website you visit. #
♦ No, journalist I. F. Stone was not a Soviet spy. It's at best an exaggeration but more bluntly a lie, and it's been debunked over and over again. Mr Stone has been dead for twenty years can we let him rest in peace? #
♦ No, it's not true that hemming and hawing in the Obama White House delayed the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. Imagine that there's a "widely circulated" internet rumor fueled by Fox and World Net Daily and lots of email chatter, but the rumor turns out to be untrue. Yeah, imagine that. #
♦ No, it's not true, as former Congressman Newt Gingrich has claimed, that American Presidents never shake hands, smile, or make small talk with foreign leaders who have strongly criticized America. "We didn't rush over, smile, and greet Russian dictators," said Gingrich in one of his numerous talking head appearances on cable TV.
This isn't merely untrue, it's absurd. Gingrich's college degree is in European history, so he's probably aware that at the height of the Cold War, President Richard Nixon literally went to Russian to give a Cadillac Eldorado to Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. Why would an American President do such a thing? Because we know that some nations don't like America, but we'd like them to.
For this reason, American Presidents frequently interact with foreign heads of state even heads of states that consider America an enemy. And of course and obviously, this often includes shaking hands, smiling for the cameras, and generally behaving like civilized adults even with leaders of unfriendly nations. #
♦ No, the White House did not specifically ask Georgetown University to cover the letters "IHS" (an obscure Latin monogram symbolizing Jesus Christ) on a wall at the school before President Obama arrived to give a speech. The White House, to ensure that its message isn't sidetracked, routinely asks that all symbols and statements be covered before the President speaks.
Those who think that this policy is wrong who think the President should stand in front of whatever political or religious symbols or slogans are waiting on the walls should make that honest argument. But to report, as Cybercast News Service (a branch of Brent Bozell's Media Research Center) repeatedly has, that the Obama administration specifically asked Georgetown to remove references to Jesus, is at best an intentionally misleading distortion of the facts. #
♦ No, the Obama administration's release of some Bush-Cheney era memos that sought to legally justify torture didn't reveal American secrets, didn't make Americans less safe, and didn't help terrorists understand super-secret torture techniques. The torture techniques described in the Bush-Cheney memos were in fact already well-known, and the only thing that's really newsworthy in the memos is the absurd lengths the Bush-Cheney administration went to pretend to find legal justification for its policy of torture. #
♦ No, it's not true (as Rush Limbaugh has claimed) that the Department of Homeland Security has issued a report suggesting that "every mainstream conservative a right-wing extremist". It's not an attack on Christians or veterans (as the American Center for Law and Justice and the American Family Association have suggested). It's not true (as Jonah Goldberg claims) that DHS never has or never would worry about left-wing extremists. And this report was ordered under the Bush-Cheney administration, so it's basically bonkers to blame (as Michael Savage has) the Obama administration or Obama's DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
We don't usually have much respect for the Homeland Security Department (DHS), where their work seems to be all about looking tough on terror, but with tactics that accomplish little beyond hassling ordinary people. But there's nothing particularly wrong, unfair, or slanderous in the DHS report that's been leaked, which acknowledges the small but serious and increasing dangers posed by the wingnut contingent of the very-far right-wing. You can read the report for yourself (pdf), as the people criticizing it obviously haven't, but you'd have to be a fool to not acknowledge that some of the current voices heard on the far, far, far right have a touch of Timothy McVeigh.
And of course, the people criticizing this DHS report the loudest are, by and large, the same people who've insulted civil libertarians for voicing concerns over increased surveillance of Muslims and Quakers and civil libertarians, over unlawful wiretaps and extended imprisonment without trial, etc., so it's hard to take seriously their sudden concern over privacy and improper investigations. #
♦ No, President Obama did not fly a pizza-maker from St. Louis to Washington, DC to make him a pizza, and stick the federal government with the tab. It's just another lie from the liars on the far fringe of the right-wing. #
♦ No, Harold Koh, President Obama's appointment for the position of Legal Adviser to the Department of State, didn't say in a speech to his alumni association that international law or Sharia law should trump US law within American borders. This alarming and absurd claim from Fox News's Glenn Beck and Rupert Murdoch's New York Post is at odds with everything in Koh's boring but distinguished résumé.
Pause and ponder, please, just how wacko it would be for an American lawyer to seriously suggest that America shouldn't be run by American law that's like a milkman saying you shouldn't eat dairy products. It's perhaps more likely that Beck and other extreme right-wingers who have supported torture are concerned because Koh has been opposed to torture, since before being opposed to torture was even controversial.
Robin Reeves Zorthian, organizer of the speech where Koh allegedly made this unlikely statement, said in a letter to the Post that Koh said no such thing: "I was in the room with my husband and several fellow alumni, and we are all adamant that Koh never said or suggested that Sharia law could be used to govern cases in US courts. The subject of his talk was Globalization and Yale Law School, so, of course, other forms of law were mentioned. But never did Koh state or suggest that other forms of law should govern or dictate the American legal system. Hopefully, your readers are interested in the facts." #
♦ No, ACORN activists are not "crashing" the "tea party" protests staged by arch-conservative activists. Click the link for full details. #
♦ No, it isn't shocking or treasonous that President Obama bowed when he met the King of Saudi Arabia. It's protocol. It's what one does when meeting the King or Queen of a foreign nation. Even then-President George W. Bush bowed when he met the King. #
♦ No, former Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has not been vindicated of corruption charges. The Justice Department has asked a court to vacate his conviction, and will not re-file the charges, but that's not vindication.
In most observers' opinions (and in our opinion) it's fair to end Stevens' prosecution as a rule, when police or prosecutors break the rules, the charges should be dropped. That's what should be done when cops plant evidence, when interrogators beat or torture suspects, et cetera, and that's what should be done in this matter. So Stevens shouldn't go to prison or back to court, but it's a stretch to suggest that this means Stevens has been vindicated.
There are, from time to time, news accounts of alleged criminals getting off on a technicality. The most famous example in recent years is Bill Ayers, the professor who, in his youth, committed violent acts in protest of the Vietnam war. He was spared prosecution on a technicality similar to the prosecutorial misconduct that saved Stevens, and while some people believe Ayers' subsequent decades as a law-abiding citizen show that he's been rehabilitated, nobody seriously suggests that Ayers was "vindicated" for his acts in the 1960s, or "innocent" of what he admits having done.
Similarly, having Stevens' conviction vacated for prosecutorial misconduct doesn't mean he's vindicated, or innocent. There is no doubt even Stevens' defense attorneys conceded at his trial that the Senator received a quarter-million dollars in home remodeling work, and didn't mention any of it on the required disclosure forms. That's illegal. On wiretap tapes, Stevens talked about his crimes, and talked about his strategy for getting away with his crimes. That's illegal.
Prosecutorial misconduct is wrong and should never be tolerated, and lawyers who broke the rules should be punished, even disbarred. But the facts of the matter remain facts, and "getting off on a technicality" is not the same as being found not guilty. #
♦ No, despite everything you've heard from pundits and politicians about how the Obama administration is slashing the defense budget, President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have not cut the US military budget. They've proposed major changes in how the defense budget is spent, but the total defense budget they're proposing is $21-billion more than last year's defense spending. Those who disagree with the Obama administration's spending priorities are welcome to voice their opinions, but facts are facts, and increasing the defense budget by $21-billion is not a "budget cut". #
♦ No, there's no such thing as a "light-switch tax" in President Obama's budget. It's a tall tale told by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) and a widely-heard Republican talking point, and it's simply, unambiguously false. #
♦ No, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) didn't say that "U.S. immigration laws are 'un-American", as CNN's Lou Dobbs and Newsmax have falsely claimed. Here's the video of Pelosi's speech, and what she meant is not hard to grasp: She was obviously speaking about the immigration raids that send parents into detention and home to Mexico, while leaving their children behind. She decried raids that rip families apart not immigration law in general as un-American.
Those who disagree should be able to disagree honestly, by fairly describing what Pelosi said and explaining why they disagree. But those who claim that she "told an audience of immigrants that U.S. immigration laws are 'un-American'" are lying to whomever is stupid or gullible enough to believe them, and we sincerely hope that doesn't include you. #
♦ No, H. R. 1388 would not require three years of mandatory service from young adults, would not ban protests, and would not establish a Marxist goose-stepping brownshirt goon squad. The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act would expand AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs, offer $500 in college tuition credit for middle and high school kids who volunteer, and provide funding for volunteer support systems.
Nothing in this legislation would make public service mandatory, or establish a "national civilian security force" with military powers, and worries that the bill would "outlaw protest" probably spring from a mis-reading of language in the legislation that excludes protesting from funding or tuition credit as volunteer work. Reality check: When you read scary news only at arch-conservative websites or in emails citing such sites, chances are it's horsefeathers. #
♦ No, the Obama administration hasn't rescinded the program that lets airline pilots carry arms. It's an urban legend that started with a startling editorial in the Washington Times, slamming the Obama administration for ending the Bush-era policy that allows pilots to be armed for in-flight self-defense. But we'd seen nothing about this in the news, and in searching we couldn't find any reports about it, and indeed, it turns out that the arch-right-wing Moonie-owned paper's editorial had been based only on whispered scuttlebutt from anonymous pilots and the scuttlebutt was wrong. The program that allows commercial pilots to carry weapons is not being ended by the Obama administration; quite the contrary, it's being expanded. The Washington Times, meanwhile, has thoughtfully deleted the editorial from its website, without running any correction that I could find. You stay classy, Washington Times. #
♦ No, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) didn't write legislation that allowed AIG to pay over $180 million in bonuses. In America, companies don't need permission to pay (or ridiculously overpay) their employees.
In reality, Senator Dodd wrote provisions to block such bonuses and then, to his great shame, Dodd agreed to withdraw that provision under pressure from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The truth is bad enough to embarrass both Dodd and the Obama administration, so why not tell the truth? #
♦ No, Congress is not considering a bill that would "make it illegal to grow your own food, or for any farm not to purchase and use government mandated chemicals, additives, and pesticides on all food consumed in the United States, violations are subject to a $1,000,000 dollar fine." The legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLaurio (D-Connecticut), and worried emails and blog posts claim that her husband is a Monsanto executive, and the bill is a gravy train for Monsanto.
H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, establishes a federal Food Safety Administration, and authorizes spending to study zoonotic diseases and research to reduce the antibiotic resistance in humans that comes from eating chemical-laden produce. Monsanto could bid for such contracts, but the funding isn't all that lucrative, and that isn't the bill's main thrust. It's a plausible effort to improve food safety standards, which became dangerously lax during the Bush-Cheney era.
Certainly, the bill isn't great lawmaking it requires even small farmers to register with the federal government, and it needs a rewrite to eliminate such stupidity and to ensure that its regulations for factory farming aren't applied to small mom and pop farms. We're opposed to H.R. 875 like most Congressional legislation, it has too many stupid subclauses and it's slanted to favor giant agribiz. But it wouldn't outlaw your vegetable garden, and it wouldn't do the other horrible things that panicked emails and worried bloggers claim it would. Also, DeLaurio's husband doesn't work for Monsanto; he's CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a public opinion polling firm.
If you're still concerned about H.R. 875, here's a more thorough explanation of what the bill does and doesn't do. #
♦ No, President Obama hasn't proposed banning guns within five miles of public schools, hasn't proposed banning shotguns and rifles used by hunters, hasn't proposed repealing the Second Amendment, etc. The hysteria began with an ad sponsored by the National Rifle Association during the 2008 Presidential campaign, claiming that Obama "supports a ban on the shotguns and rifles most of us use for hunting", but the NRA's claims were false, and in blogs and emails since then, the false claims have been stretched to the point of absurdity.
In reality, Obama supports restoring the ban on assault rifles, and has said he would like to close a legal loophole that lets handgun sales at weapons shows skirt the ordinary background checks required of gun sales at retail stores. Beyond that, there's no evidence that the issue of guns or gun control matters much to Obama or the Obama administration, and there's no evidence of anything factual behind the continuing flurry of blog posts and mass emails suggesting that Barack Obama wants to take your guns. #
♦ No, the Obama administration isn't paying, hasn't paid, isn't planning to pay for Hamas-affiliated terrorists to emigrate to the United States. The article at this wingnut website even provides a link to the text of the presidential order it's allegedly responding to, and it's a very short read that says none of the things the wingnut website says it says. Read it yourself: The President ordered emergency refugee aid for Gazans, but he didn't order or allow them to be brought to America. If you're a regular reader of newmediajournal.us, you might want to reconsider that bad habit. #
♦ No, Congress is not considering extending Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants. It's a lie that far-right-wing fearmongers have been telling since at least 2004, and it hasn't gotten any truer with age. Sure, the mainstream media does a pretty lousy job reporting the news, but do you really think a proposal to give illegal immigrants Social Security benefits wouldn't be mentioned on the nightly newscasts? #
♦ No, as a candidate for President, Barack Obama never promised to end legislative earmarks. Fox News' Greta Van Susteren presented a deceptively edited sound clip to suggest that Obama has "broken a promise" to end earmarks, and the charge has been echoed widely, even by more reputable media but it's untrue. #
♦ No, Obama's economic stimulus package doesn't fund an $8-billion high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. That's been claimed by, among others, US Reps John Boehner (R-Ohio), Candice Miller (R-Michigan), Tom Price (R-Georgia), and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), and by commentators Steve Doocy, Newt Gingrich, Brian Kilmeade, and Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, but it's simply un-true.
The bill sets aside $8-billion for rail projects, all across America, at the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation. Politicians and pundits could argue that $8-billion for rail projects is too much (we'd disagree) but they're not making that argument. Instead they're simply lying. #
♦ No, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) doesn't eliminate workers' right to a secret ballot. Lou Dobbs at CNN and such "think tanks" as the Heritage Foundation have claimed that it does, but they're just repeating a false talking point from business lobbyists.
Present law requires an employee vote on unionization, which sounds all-American, but there's a recurring problem: employers routinely exert subtle and not-so-subtle pressure tactics to influence and intimidate the employee/voters in such elections. For example, employers often hold mandatory workplace meetings to tell blatant lies about the union, while pro-union meetings can't be held at the workplace and of course can't be mandatory so one side has an un-equal advantage in getting its message out. How American is that?
The EFCA legislation doesn't end or ban these elections, and it still requires a majority of workers to join the union before certification. EFCA simply allows workers to choose other methods for union certification, if they'd prefer. But if workers choose to hold a election for union certification, that option remains available under the Employee Free Choice Act, because it's about free choice, not about taking choices away. #
♦ No, shopkeepers aren't being forced to burn children's books to comply with a new law prohibiting lead in products. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) took effect on February 10, and requires a certificate attesting to low or no lead in products aimed at kids, including books, but the law is not nearly so heavy-handed as some bloggers' headlines would have you believe.
First off, there's rarely lead in books. But more to the point, CPSIA specifies that for books manufactured before Feb. 10 2009, the certificate isn't necessary. The booksellers' reasonable confidence that the book is lead-free is good enough to make it legal. So it's unlikely that any bookstores are actually destroying books in a mistaken effort to comply with this law, but if it's happening, it's only at bookstores that are managed by imbeciles. #
♦ No, it's not true and Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) is lying when he says that President Obama's stimulus plan will "intimidate the free speech of traditional, freedom-loving Americans ... [and] put a chilling effect on religious freedom in our country", or "discriminate against people of faith, [and] deny them the educational opportunities and access to public facilities."
Gosh, that sounds horrifying, but it's not in the legislation. Period. So what's really horrifying is that a US Senator is just making all this crap up out of whole cloth. #
♦ No, President Obama's economic stimulus legislation doesn't give the federal government draconian control over health care. It doesn't define (and doesn't allow our government to define) what is "unnecessary care". It doesn't allow our government to "monitor" health care. Such claims are a deliberate distortion of the facts, as no fair reading of the bill finds any hint of such language.
The stimulus bill funds the establishment of an electronic medical records system the charts that have been maintained on paper for decades will be digitized. Opponents could plausibly argue that such an update is worrisome on privacy grounds, but they're not making that argument instead they're trying to frighten people by making up scary provisions that simply aren't in the legislation. #
♦ No, President Obama's stimulus bill doesn't direct billions of dollars to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). That's a widely-circulated lie that seems to have originated in this press release from Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said "ACORN could get billions from Democrats' trillion dollar spending plan".
In fact, ACORN isn't mentioned in the stimulus legislation, and it's doubtful that the group would qualify for any of the bill's appropriations. The section of the bill cited by Boehner deals with funding for the purchase, rehabilitation, and reselling of non-profit housing none of which is part of ACORN's mission. #
♦ No, there's nothing in Obama's jobs bill that would prohibit religious groups and organizations from using buildings on college campuses. This little bit of inanity came about when Pat Robertson's very right-wing activist group, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ it's a riff on ACLU, get it?) mis-interpreted boilerplate legal language in the bill, the same phrases that have been standard in education spending bills for decades. It's language that prohibits spending federal funds to build churches or chapels, but it has nothing to do with preventing religious groups from booking meeting space. #
♦ Whatever number you've heard for how many people have been released from Guantanamo and subsequently involved in terrorist acts, it's probably not reliable information. Numbers cited by the Pentagon have varied wildly, from two to 61, and every time the number has been different. ..." And in early February, the Saudi Arabian government said eleven former Guantanamo prisoners who had attended the Saudis' "extremist rehabilitation program" had returned to a life of terror.
Such claims of recidivism among ex-Guantanamo prisoners are favored talking points among pro-torture activists, so let's ponder this for a moment. First, it's hard to imagine who wouldn't emerge from years of torture without vowing vengeance. Second, if these men were known to be terrorists before they were released from Guantanamo, why did the Bush-Cheney administration let them go instead of having them tried and justly imprisoned? And third, Saudi Arabia is a brutal regime with no respect for human rights, so its press releases are not terribly trustworthy and it's "extremist rehabilitation program" probably involves hanging prisoners by their toenails. #
♦ No, Robert Reich, who was Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, has never said that white males should be excluded from taxpayer-funded construction projects.
What he said was, "I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers." That's not the most eloquent choice of words, but reasonable observers understand that minorities and women still face discrimination, and it's an absurd distortion to portray Reich's statement as if he said "white males need not apply". #
♦ No, it's not true that the Army Field Manual forbids "good cop/bad cop" interrogations. In January 2009, Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by President Bush's pro-torture lawyer John Yoo advancing that lie, and it's been repeated by pro-torture advocates from Karl Rove to Rush Limbaugh. It's a claim that's intended to make opposition to torture sound absurd, and of course, it's unambiguously un-true. As Media Matters explains, "In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop/bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source." #
♦ No, the US military oath isn't being altered for the Obama administration. It's a lie, spun from a site that publishes right-tilting satire, which its audience seems unable to recognize as satire. #
♦ No, Democrats aren't plotting the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Claiming that Barack Obama would bring back the Fairness Doctrine was one of the minor lies of Republicans during the 2008 campaign, and after the election it became a cornerstone opposition lie, repeated everywhere.
Now, to be clear, we at Unknown News would love to see the Fairness Doctrine restored, and with real teeth, with sharpened titanium fangs in place of the dentures it had decades ago. But in the real world there's little serious discussion of the idea among Democrats in Congress, no legislation has been drafted or introduced, and it's simply not on the agenda.
According to industry journal Radio Business Report, "The bottom line is that key watchdog groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum, including liberal radio network Air America, have come out against reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. There are so many forces stacked against it we do not see any clear path toward its reanimation." #
♦ No, Democratic leaders in the US House are not discussing the confiscation of 401(k)s and IRAs. Reports like this one, claiming that Democrats are plotting such seizures, are exaggerated over-reactions that amount to a flat-out lie. The proposal comes from exactly one economist you've never heard of, Teresa Ghilarducci of Notre Dame (not New College, as the article falsely reports). She's one among dozens of economists who briefly testified in low-level Congressional hearings in early October, she's the only one who made this proposal, and there's been not a peep of interest in the idea from any member of Congress. #
♦ No, the NRA's ads claiming that candidate Barack Obama would confiscate guns, ban ammunition, and rescind the right to self-defense are just plain bull. There's flat-out nothing in any of the Obama campaign's position papers or the candidate's speeches or record to suggest any rational basis for such fears. It's sheerdemagoguery . It's a lie.
We're not big fans of gun control. We own guns, and we like our Second Amendment almost as much as we like our First. And we're also not enormous fans of Barack Obama, a charismatic speaker whose actual positions seem far too middle-of-the-road to seriously address the huge problems facing America. But there's just nothing to suggest that Obama much gives a damn about gun control. It's never been one of his issues, it's basically absent from his rhetoric, and the notion that he's aginormous threat to the right to bear arms is just ridonkulous.#
♦ No, Pepsi hasn't prepared an ad making light of rape. Please stop sending the link to this blog post, or this one, or this one. The images aren't ads, they're art from this graphic design blog. And next time, try a little common sense: Why would Pepsi run ads that would infuriate at least half its customers? #
♦ There's no evidence that Sarah Palin's son entered the military as punishment for drug dealing. Three of our readers have sent us this link, but the author's remark is based not on fact but on a long-simmering rumor that Track Palin was prosecuted for vandalism and/or drug dealing, and offered a choice by the judge join the Army, or face a jail stint. Problem is, it's just another rumor. The record is sealed because he was a minor at the time, so there's no knowing whether it's true. #
♦ No, there isn't a cash machine dispensing Ameros in Florida. What customers of what bank in Florida are going to accept Ameros, the fictional currency of the fictional North American Union? At what business can Floridians spend these Ameros? It's a canard, and worries about the Amero and the North American Union are, in a word, nonsense. #
♦ No, Sarah Palin probably didn't use racial slurs in public to describe Obama and Eskimos. She's a major league politician, so it's unlikely that she would use offensive language where it could be easily overheard. Furthermore, the blog claiming that she made racist statements, Dick & Sharon's LA Progressive, quotes only anonymous Alaskans "a waitress" and "an insurance agent" and "Juneau observers" who may or may not exist. #
♦ No, Barack Obama wasn't born in Kenya. Jerome Corsi, Alan Keyes, and a long roster of "birthers" — all arch-partisan right-wingers — have raised baseless questions about Obama's birth certificate. The claim is that Obama was actually born in Kenya, or that by living in a foreign country as a child he somehow forfeited his American citizenship, but such stories are of course absolute nonsense. Obama's papers are in order, and there's absolutely no reasonable doubt that he's an American citizen, born at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu on August 4, 1961. #
♦ No, President George W Bush never said, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!” President Bush has always shown, shall we say, an unfamiliarity with the Constitution, but this line, widely attributed to him, is something he almost certainly never said. It was first published by Capital Hill Blue, where the news gathering is always suspect. CHB claimed to have inside knowledge from someone who was present at some hush-hush meeting where the President made this outrageous statement, but there are two problems with believing it.
First, the only people present for this alleged meeting were the President's staunchest supporters, and it's unlikely they would be offended by such a remark. But perhaps more obviously, even assuming that the President did say it and further assuming that someone present wanted to bring it to public attention, why would that someone call up Capital Hill Blue to spill the beans, instead of, say, the New York Times or the Washington Post? Sorry, it just defies credulity. #
♦ No, Karl Rove is not the spawn of Nazis, or the grandspawn of Nazis. His grandfather was not Carl Röver, Karl Rovener, or Karl Roverer, and was not the Gauleiter of Oldenburg, a high-ranking Nazi Party official, or the senior engineer in the Roverer Sud-Deutche Ingenieurburo A. G. Engineering, the firm built the Birkenau death camp. That's an internet legend, and it's not true. #
♦ No, it's not true that "science" or "many scientists" warned of dangerous global cooling trends in the 1970. Very few scientists made that claim and they were generally on the fringe, like the few scientists who now argue that global warming isn't real. In reality there was no scientific consensus about global climate changes in the 1970s, but there certainly is now.
And no, global climate change is not a hoax, not a plot, not a lie. It will be a few more years before the problems are obvious to the un-informed, and addressing the issues behind global climate change will cost money, so it is in the short-term self-interest of unprincipled wealthy and powerful parties to pretend that the facts are in dispute. They air lying commercials, publish 'greenwashing' ads, send spokespeople to spew manure on talk shows, all to hoodwink to an audience that doesn't know better.
I'm not in that audience. Are you? #
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