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By: Steve - May 25, 2015 - 11:30am
And think about this, Bartlett is no liberal, he is a die-hard conservative who not only worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for George H. W. Bush too. So pinheads like O'Reilly can not claim this is liberal propaganda, because a conservative is saying it.
Which is why O'Reilly never reports on stories like this, because it destroys his right-wing propaganda that only liberals think O'Reilly and Fox are biased.
Bartlett served as a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under George H. W. Bush. And here is what he said on Reliable Sources Sunday morning.
BARTLETT: I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people.
When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that's brainwashing.
The Republicans Have Not Passed Any Jobs Bills
By: Steve - May 25, 2015 - 11:00am
In their first 138 days in control of Congress, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have not passed any jobs bills. Instead, all the Republicans did was pass budgets that would give big tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.
The numbers reveal the truth about the Republican Party.
0: GOP jobs bills passed in the 114th Congress.
5: Additional times the House GOP has voted in the past 135 days to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act (2015 Vote #14, 2015 Vote #45, 2015 Vote #58, 2015 Vote #142, 2015 Vote #183).
58: Times so far House Republicans have voted to repeal or undermine the ACA since 2011.
And those votes are taken despite the fact that the Republicans know it will never pass, making it not only a waste of taxpayer time, but a waste of taxpayer money. Not to mention this, if it ever did pass (which is not possible) President Obama has said he will veto it.
100: Percent of House Republicans who voted against bringing up the student loan refinancing bill.
2.9 million: Number of jobs that would be destroyed under the House GOP FY 2016 Budget.
$2,000: More in taxes for middle-class American families with children greenlighted by the final FY 2016 Republican Budget.
$200,000: Average tax break for the wealthiest Americans making $1,000,000 or more greenlighted by the final FY 2016 Republican Budget.
99: Percent of House Republicans who voted against allowing a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act - a bill to ensure equal pay for equal work.
The only Republican so-called attempt at a jobs bill was the Keystone XL pipeline bill, that would not create more than a handful of permanent jobs.
The Republican-run Congress has lived down to expectations. If you are a corporation in need of some regulatory rollback, or a wealthy person who wants a tax cut, the Republican Congress is your new best friend.
For working people, women, the poor, the disabled, veterans, and everyone else, Republicans are only interested in cutting what you have to give more to the wealthy.
The Republican Congress does not represent the majority of the American people. The congressional majority is being controlled by corporations and billionaires. Republicans are more interested in taking away your health care than creating an economic environment where people have good paying jobs.
The numbers don't lie. Republicans are working against the interests of the majority of working Americans in this country, which is why the people must stand up and take their Congress back by voting Democrats back into power in the next election. And Democrats are not perfect, but they are a hell of a lot better than any Republican.
Lifetime Republican Turns On The GOP Over Obamacare
By: Steve - May 25, 2015 - 10:00am
And of course, Bill O'Reilly never reported a word about this story, and I have heard he tried to get on the Factor (and other Fox shows) to discuss it, but none of them will book him for an interview.
Luis Lang, who is currently crowdfunding for medical expenses that he can't afford because he didn't sign up for insurance under Obamacare, has become a viral sensation. However, the 49-year-old South Carolina resident says he doesn't want to be the poster child for the Republican Party's opposition to health care reform anymore.
At the end of last week, the Charlotte Observer reported that Lang, a lifelong Republican who's previously prided himself on covering his own medical bills, can't afford to pay thousands of dollars to treat an issue stemming from his chronic diabetes. Lang is suffering form bleeding in his eyes and a partially detached retina, which will cause him to go blind if left untreated. So he set up a GoFundMe page to solicit $30,000 in donations to cover a costly surgery that will save his vision.
Since then, the story has been picked up in left-leaning outlets across the country and covered in nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Obamacare supporters flocked to Lang's GoFundMe page to urge him to change his mind about the health law.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Lang joked that he might be the most hated Republican in the country right now. But he also said that, thanks in part to a flood of media attention that led him to learn more about health care policy, he doesn't identify with the GOP anymore.
"Now that I'm looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying -- hey, we're not Republicans!" Lang said. He added that, though he's not a political person by nature and has never voted solely along party lines, he wants to rip up his voter registration card on national television so Americans will have proof that he's making the switch.
Like many Americans, Lang struggled to navigate the website last year and was frustrated by long wait times and technological glitches. He told ThinkProgress he thinks the law is too confusing as it's currently written -- and pointed out that it's too difficult for him to predict his annual income as a self-employed contractor, which is what prevented him from signing up for a plan during previous enrollment periods.
He was too nervous about underestimating his income during the enrollment process and being required to pay back his insurance subsidy during tax season.
But Lang's main complaint is the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare's Medicaid expansion should be optional, which has given Republican lawmakers the opportunity to refuse to implement the policy on the state level.
That's led to a coverage gap preventing millions of Americans from accessing affordable insurance whatsoever. Because Lang's income has recently dried up, now that his deteriorating vision prevents him from working, he now falls into that gap.
"I mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness," Lang said. "They're blocking policies that could help everyone. I'm in the situation I'm in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one."
"I know we didn't do it the right way," Lang said, explaining that he's hoping to figure out the situation with his fluctuating income so he can be the first in line to sign up for a plan during the next open enrollment period.
He said he's always tried to take responsibility for his own bills, but he also believes that the United States should move toward a universal health care system that makes coverage available to everyone regardless of their income level.
He said he "one hundred percent agrees" with the people who commented on his crowdfunding page to argue that health care is a human right.
"In fact, this whole thing has helped me see more clearly. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20, Lang said.
O'Reilly Caught Lying About Obama DACA Executive Action On Immigration
By: Steve - May 24, 2015 - 11:00am
Here is yet more proof Bill O'Reilly is a biased right-wing hack who uses Republican talking points, despite his claims that he is a non-partisan Independent (with a no spin zone) who is fair to President Obama.
A segment on The O'Reilly Factor Thursday night argued that President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program made it so that it is now easier for undocumented immigrants to come to the country than it is for legal immigrants, a gross misrepresentation of the policy and its actual effects on current undocumented immigrants.
On his May 20th Fox News show, O'Reilly claimed that "folks who want to come to the USA legally, are not being able to do so because of the current policy on illegal aliens [DACA]."
Fox correspondent Shannon Bream explained that legal immigrants are waiting longer to enter the U.S. because the agency in charge of immigration has prioritized current DACA recipients. O'Reilly concluded that the rules mean that "it is much more difficult to come here legally than illegally."
But as usual O'Reilly left out some of the facts, and the segment failed to explain that DACA only affects young immigrants who have been in the country continuously for a number of years, having immigrated before June 15, 2007 and who were brought to the U.S. as minors.
Neither O'Reilly or his Fox News guest said a word about any of that, and no guest was on to give the other side, to make it a fair and balanced segment. It was basically two biased Fox employees lying to each other, and then claiming it was the truth.
And that was not all they lied about, the segment also incorrectly stated that undocumented immigrants "received residency" under Obama.
The 2012 program provides for no such thing: DACA merely delays the deportation and eventually grants a renewable work authorization for two years to those who comply with the list of requirements.
According to the Immigration Policy Center, DACA also allows DHS to focus resources away from targeting and removing law abiding families in the U.S. "towards individuals who pose a real risk to public safety, as well as cross-border criminal enterprises and other high-priority objectives," saving valuable time and resources.
This is not fair and balanced journalism in a so-called no spin zone, it's lies and half-truths put out by the Republican party, with no guest to provide a counter balance. It's basically right-wing propaganda talking points, and O'Reilly used them, even though he claims he never uses any Republican talking points.
Pew Poll Shows Majority Do Not Support The Republican Party
By: Steve - May 24, 2015 - 10:00am
And of course Bill O'Reilly never said a word about it, because he is a Republican who wants you to think the majority of Americans like what the Republicans are doing, when in fact, they do not.
A Pew Research Poll released on May 21, 2015, finds that Americans are unhappy with the Republican leadership in Congress. 72 percent of Americans disapprove of the job the current GOP leadership in Congress is doing, to just 22 percent who approve of their job performance.
Democrats and Independents are not the only ones discontent with the current Republican leadership in Congress. Even a majority of Republicans are unhappy with Boehner, McConnell and the other Republican leaders in the House and Senate. 55 percent of Republicans disapprove of their party's Congressional leaders, to just 41 percent who view them favorably.
Congressional leaders are headed in the wrong direction with their popularity. In February of 2015, Republicans viewed their party leaders favorably (50-44), but since then, their support for Republican leadership has dropped 20 percentage points from a (+6) to a (-14) approve versus disapprove differential.
Naturally, Democrats and Independents are even more disappointed with the Republican leadership. Both groups give Republican leaders in Congress a dreadful approval rating. Only 12 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Independents think Republican leaders in Congress are doing a good job. 74 percent of Independents and a whopping 84 percent of Democrats disapprove of the GOP leadership in Congress.
Less than one in four voters think Republicans have followed through on their campaign promises. Only 37 percent of Republicans believe GOP leaders are keeping their campaign promises. Not only are voters disgusted with the Republican Congress, but they also think GOP leaders are liars.
While Republicans, Democrats and Independents all dislike the current Republican Congress, they are unhappy for different reasons. 75 percent of Republicans want the GOP Congress to adopt a more confrontational approach with President Obama.
Democrats and Independents are more likely to take the position that the Republican Congress needs to go along with President Obama more often, rather than fighting him.
The bottom line is that very few Americans approve of the job Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and other Republican leaders are doing in Washington. That includes unhappy Republican voters, who are experiencing buyer's remorse after finding that the GOP isn't living up to their campaign promises.
Perhaps in 2016, many of those dissatisfied Republicans will learn from their 2014 mistakes, and either switch sides or stay home on election day.
Fox Food Stamp Misinformation Ends Up In GOP House Committee Hearing
By: Steve - May 23, 2015 - 11:00am
Fox News misleading smear of food stamp recipients as nothing but surfing freeloaders found its way into a GOP congressional hearing aimed at examining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or (SNAP).
On May 20, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing addressing the "Past, Present, and Future of SNAP." Throughout the hearing, Fox News misleading 2013 special, "The Great Food Stamp Binge" that attempted to make a surfing freeloader "the new face of food stamps" was referenced several times as evidence of abuse within the program.
Fox's misrepresentation of food stamp recipients found its way into the hearing when two members on the committee used the special as anecdotal evidence of abuse within SNAP. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) used Fox's example of a "surfer out in California living on food stamps and eating lobster" as evidence of abuse within the program, though he somehow "forgot which network" aired the special.
Then Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) also referenced "the surfer that was on one of the news channels," claiming, "unfortunately, we see that in our districts, and I hear stories about that every day."
Neither Republican mentioned the fact that the biased food stamp special was done by the biased Fox News Network. And neither one of them ever mentioned the actual food stamp fraud rate of 1 percent.
The surfer mentioned by Reps. Gibbs and Yoho was Jason Greenslate who featured in Fox's special as part of Fox News longstanding history of maligning the poor and misrepresenting food stamp recipients.
After it aired, the network delivered physical copies of the special to members of Congress in an attempt to influence a vote to cut SNAP benefits by billions of dollars.
What the special failed to note was the fact that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, the fraud and waste rate in SNAP is roughly only 1 percent.
The special also ignored the fact that SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011, many of whom are children, and that 82 percent of SNAP households include a child, elderly person, or a disabled American.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), fought to correct the record by pointing out the "surfer on food stamps" is "not the reality of the program, and it's our job to tell anybody who says it is, that it isn't":
REP. MCGOVERN: I want to make sure the record is corrected on this, we heard a couple of times mention the guy who is a surfer on food stamps. That is not the reality of the program, and it's our job to tell anybody who says it is, that it isn't.
The majority of people on this program are kids, are senior citizens, are those who are disabled. And of those who are able-bodied, the majority of them work.
Given the opportunity between working at a job that pays a wage where I wouldn't have to rely on this benefit, or a job that I have to work full-time and I still need to rely on SNAP, I mean, we know what people would decide.
So let's not demonize this program by taking some isolated examples that may have appeared on some news show that I won't mention the name of the news show, but anyway. But the point of the matter is we ought to be talking, we ought to make sure that the narrative we are echoing here reflects the reality.
Notice That O'Reilly Is No Longer Crying About The Deficit
By: Steve - May 23, 2015 - 10:00am
Think back to a year or two ago, O'Reilly cried about the debt and the deficit every night, saying the Obama economic policies are a failure and chaos, and constantly crying about Obama raising the deficit to out of control levels that could never be corrected. He was complaining that Obama was increasing the deficit, while it was going down every year, so it looks like he ignored the actual stats and lied to you.
Fast forward to 2015, and we now know O'Reilly was either lying, or he did not have a clue what he was talking about, or maybe both.
O'Reilly and the GOP said the deficit has skyrocketed under Obama, and they were wrong.
FACT: The budget was balanced when Clinton left office in 2001 (in fact, he left Bush with a $300,000,000,000 surplus).
Eight years later, Bush left Obama with a $1,413 trillion dollar deficit and a 9.8% deficit/GDP ratio. Most of which was due to Bush's deficit-spending on the Iraq War, Medicare Part D and the two tax cuts that largely went to the wealthy.
Then of course O'Reilly ignored this: "Remember what Reagan taught us. Deficits don't matter." said Dick Cheney.
Under Bush, O'Reilly never once complained about the deficit, in fact, when Democrats complained about the deficit under Bush on his show, O'Reilly made fun of them and said deficits are meaningless because we can correct for them at any time.
Since Obama's election:
2010 -- $1,294,000,000,000 8.7% deficit/GDP
2011 -- $1,300,000,000,000 8.4% deficit/GDP
2012 -- $1,087,000,000,000 6.8% deficit/GDP
2013 -- $680,000,000,000 4.1% deficit/GDP
2014 -- $560,000,000,000 3.3% deficit/GDP
See a pattern developing? Furthermore, the United States is now producing more oil than we import. Our overall trade deficit is at a four year low, as imported oil continues to decline. GM, Ford and Chrysler are all chugging along nicely, no thanks to a unified Republican/Tea party, who were eager to sacrifice 2 million American jobs on their altar of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
The trade gap has fallen 12.9% to $34.3 billion as Obama's policies have made American products and services more available abroad, while Americans are increasingly buying more domestic products. The trade imbalance is now lower than at any time since the beginning of the recession, and the offshoring of American jobs has (finally) slowed to a trickle.
Our trade gap with China is down 6.7% (largely based on their taste for American cars), our trade gap with Japan is down 8.4% and our trade gap with the European Union has dropped a whopping 29.4%.
Are things perfect? No. There's still much to be done. But the rumors of Barack Obama's failures have been greatly exaggerated, and it's time to call these right-wing talking points what they are, lies.
This president will go down in history as a man who achieved some amazing accomplishments, especially considering the unified opposition he's had to endure since Day One.
So there you have it you Fox News idiots, all your talking points shot to hell in one Fact-based document. O'Reilly even said Obama had increased the deficit so much we could never get it lowered to managable levels, even though it was actually going down every year, and getting less of the GDP all the time.
This one blog posting proves beyond a doubt that Bill O'Reilly is a lying right-wing hack, and yet, he still claims he is a real non-partisan journalist who tells you the truth, it's just laughable.
Obama Bans Some Transfers Of Military Hardware To police
By: Steve - May 22, 2015 - 11:00am
The White House on Monday announced new limits on federal programs that supply local police with military-style equipment.
After four months of study, a Cabinet working group tasked by President Obama to reform the initiatives unveiled eight categories of military supplies local law enforcement will be banned from acquiring from federal agencies or with federal funds.
The list includes grenade launchers, tracked armored vehicles, armed aircraft, bayonets, and guns and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher.
There is a "substantial risk of misusing or overusing these items," which "could significantly undermine community trust," the group’s report reads.
Other federally supplied equipment, such as wheeled armored vehicles, drones, helicopters, firearms and riot gear, will come with new strings attached for local police to ensure officers are trained in their use and in "community policing, constitutional policing and community input."
Police must provide a "clear and persuasive explanation" for the need of the equipment and get approval from their local government.
The steps are part of the White House's effort to reestablish trust between law enforcement and their communities in response to a string of police-related deaths of black men in Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo. and North Charleston, S.C., among other cities.
The issue of police militarization entered the national spotlight last summer as officers and demonstrators angered by the death of Michael Brown, 18, violently clashed in the streets of Ferguson.
The public was shocked by images of heavily armed police in military armored vehicles who were sent to quell the protests. A bipartisan group of lawmakers and civil-rights groups pushed to end initiatives, such as the Pentagon's 1033 program, that allow surplus military equipment to be transferred to local police.
The White House has stopped short of eliminating the program. The equipment "enhances the safety of officers" responding to dangerous situations and being improperly equipped can have life‐threatening consequences," according to the report.
The administration is announcing new rules to better keep track of the equipment, including gathering information whenever it is used in a "significant incident."
The president has recently lamented the limits of his power when it comes to addressing the police reforms, saying he "can't federalize every police force in the country."
One of the most popular reforms to emerge after Ferguson was the widespread use of body cameras by police. The White House has launched a limited program that would equip 50,000 police officers with the cameras, but has stopped short of calling for their mandatory use.
Obama is dispatching Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to 10 cities in the coming weeks where local authorities have improved relations with their communities.
Bush's CIA Briefer Admits They Lied About The Iraq WMD Intelligence
By: Steve - May 22, 2015 - 10:00am
And as expected, the so-called non-partisan no spin zone journalist Bill O'Reilly ignored the entire story and never said a word about it.
On "Hardball," Michael Morell concedes the Bush administration misled the nation into the Iraq War.
For twelve years, the Bush-Cheney crowd (including O'Reilly) have been trying to escape (or cover up) an essential fact of the Bush years: President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their lieutenants misled the American public about the WMD threat supposedly posed by Saddam Hussein in order to grease the way to the invasion of Iraq.
For Bush, Cheney, and the rest, this endeavor is fundamental; it is necessary to protect the legitimacy of the Bush II presidency. Naturally, Karl Rove and other Bushies have quickly tried to douse the Bush-lied-us-into-war fire whenever such flames have appeared.
And in recent days, as Jeb Bush bumbled a question about the Iraq War, he and other Republicans have peddled the fictitious tale that his brother launched the invasion because he was presented lousy intelligence.
But now there's a new witness who will make the Bush apologists mission even more impossible: Michael Morell, a longtime CIA official who eventually became the agency's deputy director and acting director. During the preinvasion period, he served as Bush's intelligence briefer.
Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball on Tuesday night, Morell made it clear: The Bush-Cheney administration publicly misrepresented the intelligence related to Iraq's supposed WMD program and Saddam's alleged links to Al Qaeda.
Host Chris Matthews asked Morell about a statement Cheney made in 2003: "We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
Here's the conversation that followed:
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MORELL: We were saying...
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That's not true.
MATTHEWS: Well, why'd you let them get away with it?
MORELL: Look, my job Chris...
MATTHEWS: You're the briefer for the president on intelligence, you're the top person to go in and tell him what's going on. You see Cheney make this charge he's got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it...and nobody raised their hand and said, "No that's not what we told him."
MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what's my job, right? My job...
MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.
MORELL: My job-no, as the briefer? As the briefer?
MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.
MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA's best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they're saying on TV.
The discussion went on:
MATTHEWS: So you're briefing the president on the reasons for war, they're selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn't. So they're using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.
MORELL: Look, I'm just telling you...
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.
MORELL: I'm just telling you what we said...
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.
There's the indictment, issued by the intelligence officer who briefed Bush and Cheney: The Bush White House made a "false presentation" on "some aspects" of the case for war.
"That's a big deal," Matthews exclaimed. Morell replied, "It's a big deal."
And there's more. Referring to the claims made by Bush, Cheney, and other administration officials that Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, Morell noted, "What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community" had concluded.
He added, "I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war." That is, stronger than the truth would allow.
Morell's remarks support the basic charge: Bush and Cheney were not misled by flawed intelligence; they used the flawed intelligence to mislead the American people and the world.
Study Shows Fox News Is Brainwashing Their Viewers With Misinformation
By: Steve - May 21, 2015 - 11:00am
A new study has found that Fox News is hurting the Republican Party by brainwashing millions of angry conservatives with misinformation.
In a new study of the Fox News effect by Bruce Bartlett, research was collected that demonstrated the negative impact of Fox News on media and politics.
Bartlett described what the founding of Fox News first meant to conservatives, and how it shifted into an act of self-brain washing, "Like someone dying of thirst in the desert, conservatives drank heavily from the Fox waters. Soon, it became the dominant -and in many cases, virtually the only - major news source for millions of Americans."
This has had profound political implications that are only starting to be appreciated. "Indeed, it can almost be called self-brainwashing - many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth."
Bartlett documented Fox News extreme rightward shift after 9/11 and how the network went from tilting conservative to flat out misinformation and propaganda.
The study also sums of years of research that points to Fox News viewers as being the least informed media consumers. The dominance of Fox News has led to some extremely negative consequences that are harming the Republican Party:
Although this arrangement unquestionably aids Republicans in winning elections and votes in Congress, it is not without its downsides. One is that Fox now exercises such powerful control over the GOP that it has become the party's kingmaker in presidential primaries.Bartlett's conclusion is that the same attributes that make Fox a strong cable network are harming the Republican Party.
There is little doubt that the Republican Party is influenced by two interests. The corporations and conservative billionaires who fund their campaigns and Fox News. A Republican candidate can be made or broken by Fox News, but the network also pushes Republicans to an unelectable right-wing position in presidential elections.
Viewers have been brainwashed by a combination of misinformation and constant confirmation of their own biases. Fox News doesn't report reality. The result is that millions of Fox News Republicans expect their candidates to carry out what they see on television, which has led to a party of non-reality based voters supporting delusional candidates.
The impact is felt on a broken legislative process where for one party there is no middle and opposing the President at all costs has become a path to political victory.
The conclusion is unmistakable. Fox News has not only broken journalism. The conservative news network is also destroying the Republican Party.
Krugman: The Iraq War Was No Mistake It Was A Crime
By: Steve - May 21, 2015 - 10:00am
Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Krugman wrote this about Jeb Bush and the Iraq war.
Errors and Lies
Surprise! It turns out that there's something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.
But many influential people -- not just Mr. Bush -- would prefer that we not have that discussion. There's a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it's about time that everyone admits it.
Now let's move on.
Well, let's not -- because that's a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it's false. The Iraq war wasn't an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war.
The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.
The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games -- the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.
And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war's opponents were saying. We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself -- literally before the dust had settled -- Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.
"Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] ...sweep it all up things related and not"; so read notes taken by Mr. Rumsfeld's aide.
This was, in short, a war the White House wanted, and all of the supposed mistakes that, as Jeb puts it, "were made" by someone unnamed actually flowed from this underlying desire. Did the intelligence agencies wrongly conclude that Iraq had chemical weapons and a nuclear program?
That's because they were under intense pressure to justify the war. Did prewar assessments vastly understate the difficulty and cost of occupation? That's because the war party didn't want to hear anything that might raise doubts about the rush to invade.
Indeed, the Army's chief of staff was effectively fired for questioning claims that the occupation phase would be cheap and easy.
Why did they want a war? That's a harder question to answer. Some of the warmongers believed that deploying shock and awe in Iraq would enhance American power and influence around the world. Some saw Iraq as a sort of pilot project, preparation for a series of regime changes. And it's hard to avoid the suspicion that there was a strong element of wagging the dog, of using military triumph to strengthen the Republican brand at home.
Now, you can understand why many political and media figures would prefer not to talk about any of this. Some of them, I suppose, may have been duped: may have fallen for the obvious lies, which doesn't say much about their judgment. More, I suspect, were complicit: they realized that the official case for war was a pretext, but had their own reasons for wanting a war, or, alternatively, allowed themselves to be intimidated into going along.
For there was a definite climate of fear among politicians and pundits in 2002 and 2003, one in which criticizing the push for war looked very much like a career killer.
On top of these personal motives, our news media in general have a hard time coping with policy dishonesty. Reporters are reluctant to call politicians on their lies, even when these involve mundane issues like budget numbers, for fear of seeming partisan.
In fact, the bigger the lie, the clearer it is that major political figures are engaged in outright fraud, the more hesitant the reporting. And it doesn't get much bigger -- indeed, more or less criminal -- than lying America into war.
But truth matters, and not just because those who refuse to learn from history are doomed in some general sense to repeat it. The campaign of lies that took us into Iraq was recent enough that it's still important to hold the guilty individuals accountable.
Never mind Jeb Bush's verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.
So let's get the Iraq story right. Yes, from a national point of view the invasion was a mistake. But (with apologies to Talleyrand) it was worse than a mistake, it was a crime.
Transcript Shows O'Reilly Daughter Said She Saw Him Choking Her Mom
By: Steve - May 20, 2015 - 11:30am
Two days after Gawker reported that Bill O'Reilly was accused of physically assaulting his ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy, the blog published portions of the court transcripts to prove it.
The allegations came from the couple's teenage daughter during a custody trial that concluded three weeks ago. After Gawker's initial report, O'Reilly released a statement, saying, "All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100% false. I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further."
But the transcripts obtained by Gawker confirm that O'Reilly's 16-year-old daughter told a court-appointed forensic examiner that she saw him "choking her mom" while he "dragged her down some stairs by the neck."
Additionally, the daughter claimed that O'Reilly is an absent father with rage issues.
Manhattan psychologist Larry Cohen was assigned to evaluate each family member for the dispute, and reported his findings back to the Nassau County Supreme Court. Gawker's transcripts come from the ex-wife's counsel's cross-examination of Cohen. The key transcript centers around when the attorney asked the doctor if the daughter (identified as M.) hint of violence in the household:
Q: In the course of your meetings with the children, did either of them describe any incidents of domestic violence between their parents?
Q: And who was that?
A: M. reported having seeing an incident where I believe she said her dad was choking her mom or had his hands around her neck and dragged her down some stairs.
MR. CLAIR: Your Honor, to the extent that that incident as alleged may have predated the signing of the agreement.
THE COURT: Counsel. Counsel, she asked the question, we got the answer. Let's move on.
Another portion highlighted by Gawker came when Cohen testified that the couple's daughter saw O'Reilly as an absent father. This is particularly noteworthy, the website said, because the Fox host has "repeatedly criticized the 'black community' for being absent fathers."
Q [O'Reilly attorney]: And M. reported to you that her father was never around to have a relationship with her for 11 years, correct?
A [Cohen]: That's what she said.
Q: And the word, when I emphasize the word "never," that was her word, was it not?
A: Yes, it was.
Bill O'Reilly Lied His Butt Off Talking About Taxes & Income Inequality
By: Steve - May 20, 2015 - 11:00am
Sensing this rising concern over income inequality among the 2016 candidates, Bill O'Reilly stumbled head first into the issue last week and offered his take on the state of the American economy.
And, as usual, he got almost everything completely wrong. To Bill O'Reilly, the real inequality is found in the government's unfair taxation of wealthy people like himself.
So let's break down Billy's treatment of income inequality piece by piece to get a better handle on just how thoroughly bad his analysis was.
O'REILLY: This year 2015 the feds will gather more tax dollars than ever before in the history of the U.S.A. -- about $3 trillion. That's because since taking office, President Obama has proposed a whopping 442 tax increases. Not counting 20 others associated with Obamacare.Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Has Obama really proposed 442 tax increases? No, Not even close.
It's a bogus talking point that the Republican Grover Norquist's anti-tax group made up, and they arrived at that number through double-counting and by throwing in a bunch of things that aren't actually tax increases.
More to the point, the act of proposing a tax increase does not actually increase taxes or raise revenues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, tax revenues in 2015 are going up in part because certain business tax breaks are expiring, but also because the economy is growing, and more jobs means more taxable income.
O'Dummy then said this:
O'REILLY: As you may know, Americans earning more than $400,000 a year must pay close to 40 percent of their income to the feds; Social Security taxes increased from 4.2 to 6.2 percent -- all workers pay that; and itemized deductions which can bring tax bills down, now being phased out for high wage earners and profitable businesses.Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Bill O'Reilly is lying to you and he does not appear to understand how marginal tax rates work. In 2014, any single filer who made more than $406,750 in income was subject to the top marginal rate of 39.6 percent. This does not mean they paid "close to 40 percent of their income to the feds," as O'Reilly claims.
It means they paid close to 40 percent of every dollar over $406,750. Every dollar below that threshold was taxed at the lower marginal rates. So a single filer who made exactly $406,751 in 2014 actually paid about 29 percent of their income in federal taxes.
This is very basic stuff about taxation that O'Reilly either lied about, or he just does not know what he is talking about.
He is right that all workers pay Social Security taxes, or payroll taxes, as they're commonly known. But once again, he doesn't appear to quite get how these taxes work, or he just flat out lied about it.
Workers pay payroll taxes only up to a certain income threshold -- $117,000 in 2014. Anyone who made more than that didn't pay a single cent in payroll taxes on any dollar over $117,000. So while all workers pay payroll taxes, the wealthiest pay a smaller share of their income in payroll taxes (just 2.3 percent for the top one percent of households) than the non-wealthy.
Something O'Reilly never ever mentions when he talks about taxes on the wealthy compared to the non-wealthy, or payroll taxes. Not once has O'Reilly even mentioned the $117,000 income threshold.
This swirl of incomprehensible yammering about taxes leads to Billy's thesis on income inequality in America: the rich have it rough, while everyone else is doing okay.
O'REILLY: So you can see, you have to be able to see that taxes are everywhere on affluent Americans and business profits. But, for the rest of Americans, they aren't so bad. Bottom 60 percent of wage earners pay just 2.7 percent of all federal income taxes. The bottom 40 percent actually get money from the feds they receive payments called earned income tax credits.Ah yes, the lucky poor who get their tax credits and don't know the pain of paying taxes on sky-high incomes and capital gains. Of course, focusing solely on federal income taxes ignores the regressive consumption taxes that hit the poor the hardest.
Those taxes are paid by everybody, even people who don't work and are ineligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. And one might be a little more sympathetic to the plight of the affluent if they weren't able to exploit loopholes and various other tricks within the tax code to lower their effective tax rates to be roughly equal to -- or lower than -- someone making far less.
As in Billionaire investor Warren Buffett who pays a lower tax rate than his secretary who makes less than $200,000 a year. Something else O'Reilly never mentions, that the public tax rate reported for the wealthy is a myth, they never pay that, with deductions and tax loopholes the average millionaire and billionaire pay a lower tax rate than the average working man.
But O'Reilly claims he knows he's right about the suffering of the rich in America, as proven by the sad, sad story of Bill O'Reilly's slightly less robust investment portfolio. "According to financial analyst Alexander Green, who works for the Oxford Club, the tax burden on business investors drives down job creation and economic expansion," O'Reilly claimed.
"I believe that because I have cut back investing due to the heavy capital gains hit. Why should I risk my money?"
Even though the capital gains tax is lower now (20%) then it was under Bush, when it was 28%, so one again O'Reilly is misrepresenting the facts, and implying the capital gains tax went up over the years, when it actually dropped 8% during that time.
After laying out this completely backwards vision of income inequality in America, O'Reilly turned to an actual economist, Austan Goolsbee and asked him to grade his economic dissertation.
Goolsbee, gave O'Reilly a D.
O'Reilly, as usual just ignored what the expert said and gave himself an A.
Redskins Poll O'Reilly Ignored Already Proves Him Wrong
By: Steve - May 20, 2015 - 10:00am
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly suggested the name of Washington, D.C.'s NFL franchise was not offensive to the Native American community and said he'd like to poll them to confirm this.
In fact, a recent poll found that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans consider the Washington franchise's name to be racist.
On the May 14th edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly discussed Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) recent criticism of the NFL for suspending quarterback Tom Brady while ignoring what he described as Washington's "racist" NFL team name.
O'Reilly mocked Reid's criticism and questioned how offensive the name really was to Native Americans, saying this:
O'REILLY: I just think it's so ridiculous to bring up the Redskins. I'd really like to have a poll, and this is serious, among Native Americans. You know, to poll them and to see do you really think the Washington Redskins is racist? Really? I mean, you know, the intent of it is the noble fighter, all right? If you look at the logo and that you know, the Cleveland Indians. I don't know.In 2014, a California State University, San Bernardino sociology professor did poll the Native American community on the topic. The poll found that 67 percent of Native Americans believe the NFL team's name is "racist."
But of course O'Reilly ignored it, because it did not agree with him, if it did he would have reported it. Instead he just ignores it and acts like it was never done.
In addition, many Native Americans have spoken out against the name. In 2014, thousands of Native Americans in Minnesota protested against the team's name.
In January, the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians started a campaign "asking NFL fans to petition league leaders to change the Washington Redskins nickname."
And Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and a Native American, has also spoken out against the name, saying, "It is very, very, very offensive. This isn't like warriors or chiefs. It's not a term of respect, and it's needlessly offensive to a large part of our population."
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