Reposting this article from February 15, 2011, because Andrew Breitbart apparently forgets that we caught him in lies many times.
You know, I don't hate anyone. I don't hate right wingers, for example; I just don't appreciate what they stand for, and I despise hypocrisy.
But more than that, I despise professional liars. The average right winger is largely a prick because of the professional liars who tell them what they want to hear, whether it's true or not, in return for handsome compensation. If you're a right wing pundit, all you have to do is dictate some lies, have some schmuck type it up and put it into book form, and a couple of million ignorant souls will buy it up and call you their god.
The only frustrating part of the situation is that the legitimate news media doesn't seem to want to call these idiots out and completely discredit them, so that they can't do it again.
Case in point; Andrew Breitbart.
For those of you who don’t know, Lil Andy Breitbart was served with a lawsuit last weekend, as he gave another hate-filled speech at the CPAC convention, in which he referred to liberals with whom he disagreed as "animals." The suit was brought by former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod. As you’ll recall, Ms. Sherrod, whose civil rights pedigree actually goes back pretty far, was summarily fired when the Obama Administration’s Department of Agriculture, with an able assist from the NAACP, gave far too much credence to a video presented by the piece of shit Breitbart, who was attempting to portray her as racist. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the original video popped up, and demonstrated that the video he had presented as fact, was in fact heavily edited.
The current flap over insurance coverage of birth control by insurers — specifically those who work as employees of the Catholic Church — has absolutely nothing to do with the religious freedom of Catholics. In fact, if anything, it is the Catholic Church that is attempting to violate the separation of church and state mandated by the First Amendment, not the government. They are attempting to carve out an exception for themselves in YOUR private insurance policy, and nothing more.
To explain what I mean, you have to understand the purpose of health insurance.
When you pay a health insurance premium, you’re not actually paying for your own health care. This is a concept that causes many right wingers’ heads to explode, but it is reality. Given the fact that many people pay insurance premiums for many years, and only use it to take the kids to the doctor for occasional check ups, many tend to view it as something of a savings account, to pay for what might happen in the future. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend not to view it that way.
In actuality, you pay your premiums, and those premiums go into a large pool, from which the insurance company pays the medical bills of others who need the money to pay for health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” medical decisions are now left between you and your doctors. Hospitals and doctors issue an invoice for services rendered, and the insurance company writes a check, pulling money from the pool that includes your insurance premium.
I don’t have much use for polls about 90% of the time. They’re usually wildly inaccurate on their own. That’s why I like what Nate Silver does. Instead of looking at one poll and declaring it as the actual opinion of all of the American people, he evaluates a number of polls and creates a snapshot of what people might be thinking, and what might happen as a result. Basically, no one
The only thing I hold in less regard than polls are analyses of those polls. In a large number of cases, what these “analysts” do is to create a conclusion, and only cite those numbers that make their pre-formed conclusion. There are several problems with this, of course, most of them painfully obvious. As you know, I try only to deal with facts.
So, when someone sent me a link to Glenn Greenwald’s piece in yesterday’s Salon, entitled “Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy,” the first thing I did was roll my eyes at the irony in the headline. Now, in all fairness, Greenwald might not have written the headline; often, editors throw a headline on a piece without consulting with the writer. But in this case the article reflects the headline pretty well. According to Greenwald, progressives are "hypocrites" because, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, we don’t agree with him on his pet issues.
There's only one problem with this assessment. He has no evidence to support his main contention.
Okay, so I open up my Twitter feed earlier this afternoon, and the following Tweet, by one John Cusack (the actor), smacks me in the face.
Now, there are two ways to take the above. Either he sincerely hopes the president is able to do his difficult yet challenging job, and is able to sleep despite the numerous difficult decisions he must make every day. Let’s hope he doesn’t sweat tiny details. On that, we agree; why would anyone want a job like the President’s, where one is daily asked to makes Hobson’s-style Choices.
The second way to take the above is as sarcastic; a cowardly dig at a president who has to make decisions every day that can potentially effect billions of people, from an actor who pretty much never has to decide between life and death for anyone of any significance.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about the importance of checking facts and making sure those you’re being fed are actually as represented. Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about. There was a story about George Soros floating around the left and right blogospheres yesterday, that revolves around an interview Mr. Soros gave to Reuters, in which he was asked about the coming election.
The headline on most news stories and blog posts was a variation on “Soros: Not Much Difference Between Him and Romney,” with honest bloggers and publications adding an ellipsis, and the “less honest” adding a period, or implying that was the entire quote. Many of the right wing bloggers put Romney’s name first because, well, they hate Romney. Here’s a Google search on the above headline:
I woke up this morning preparing to finish a post on capitalism and the right wing this morning, so that I could put it up this weekend, when I received an email from the “Truthdig!” web site. The author, who is also the Editor of Truthdig, was Robert Scheer. I dropped my capitalism post immediately, out of concern for what has to be the worst case of Obama Derangement Syndrome I've ever seen in a professional lefty.
Robert Scheer was a liberal reporter and columnist of incredible note for many years. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. Unlike many on the professional left, Scheer has unquestionable journalistic chops. He’s one of the few on the professional left who can boast of Pulitzers and legitimate acclaim.
So, when I found the following article linked in my email this morning, I was concerned. If ODS can hit a pro lefty with his reputation, is anyone really safe? Here's the article of which I speak.
Obama’s Faux Populism Sounds Like Bill Clinton
If you want to quibble with President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, feel free. This is a free country, after all, even if the right wing would like for everyone to be less free. But the speech was masterful for two reasons. First, it laid out a bold vision for the future that every progressive should be excited about. But just as importantly, it used the Republican Party’s own rhetoric to frame the issues, which means they'll have to abandon the few principles they have left, to attack Obama. This should make progressives downright giddy.
Yet, my Twitter feed has been chock full of naysayers this morning; mostly, they’re self-professed “progressives” who are managing to twist themselves into something of a pretzel shape in order to backhand President Obama for not being perfect. The professional left have been particularly harsh.
Arianna Huffington, for example, Tweeted the following first thing this morning:
See, the problem with us progressives is, many of us think we know all about issues, but we don’t. We get so bogged down in pointless minutiae, we completely lose sight of the issues themselves. The funny thing is, some "progressives" PRIDE themselves for knowing about millions of small details on every issue, at the same time they lose sight of the big picture, and what politics is REALLY about.
Take the NDAA, for example. Oh, my, are some people on the left pissed off about this! It started with the professional left, but a lot of far lefties took up the mantle.
Oh, my goodness, folks! The entire republic is about to go up in flames because the president might actually be able to imprison some non-citizens indefinitely during a war! Gosh, when has that ever happened, right? And it’s ALL President Obama’s fault! That hopey changey bastard! How DARE he sign a bill that passed with a veto-proof majority in which 2 of its 565 pages were flawed?
As those who have been following this blog for a while know, it’s about uncovering lies and encouraging the use of facts to move the progressive movement forward. The problem with saying things that are provably false is, eventually someone will discover the falsehood, and will tend to not believe anything you say afterward. We need a majority on our side, which means we must invest ourselves in truth.
I’ve always had a problem with “fact checking” web sites run my major news or propaganda organizations. Media Matters, I love, because they don't actually interpret. They simply say whatever was said, then show whatever caused a contradiction, and let the readers decide what they should believe. They do lean left when it comes to choosing which lies they discuss, but their discussion of falsehoods is rarely, if ever, actually biased. Too many "fact checking" organizations, however, have a tendency to assert their own biases in their analyses.
Some will recall that I had a major row with Factcheck a couple of years ago, when they tried to claim the Affordable Care Act would allow for government funding of abortions. It was bad enough that they made a mistake, but after I uncovered the mistake and corrected them using language in both the ACA and the Hyde Amendment, the director of Factcheck, Brooks Jackson, insisted he was right because, well, he was, that’s all. They lost a lot of credibility with me, and many of my readers, and I still fact check Factcheck as a result.
One reason the progressive movement has been largely stalled for the last 30-40 years is because the average person simply doesn’t understand what our movement is supposed to be about. That's entirely our fault. The loudest component of the progressive movement, the “professional left,” as it were, likes to speak broadly about issues, at the same time they obsess over minutiae that really has no basis in reality. If you look at the liberal press, especially the blogs, you see mostly broad negatives, very few positives and quite a few unhealthy obsessions.
Their latest unhealthy obsession seems to be with banks, specifically "big banks," whatever the hell they are. I suppose it's one of those "you know them when you see them" things, right? Big banks are the root of all evil, as the professional left sees it. If we just get rid of those "big banks," our economy will be fixed, all poor people will become rich, angels will once again dance on the heads of pins, and no police officer will ever again stop a black man for walking through the “wrong neighborhood.”
Okay, that was a slight exaggeration, but only slight.