Anybody Wanna Buy Our “Mansion”? Politifact Surrenders Its Credibility

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. 

But you know what? Politifact has outdone that little error. They have determined that the Lie of the Year 2011 is that “Republicans voted to end Medicare.”  Not just a lie, mind you, but the BIGGEST LIE OF THE YEAR. In a year that featured claims such as “The Iraq War was a success,” “Cutting taxes on millionaires will mean more jobs,” and “The United States is so broke, it could default on its debt,” they chose THAT as the “Lie of the Year”? Really? With a Republican presidential field full of lies and “pants on fires,” that was the biggest lie they could think of?

What makes it worse is, it’s not even a lie. It’s absolutely true; the Republicans in Congress voted overwhelmingly to dismantle Medicare as it exists now and replace it with a privatized voucher system that they would call Medicare. 

Anyone wanna buy my mansion?

You know how picky I can be. There really is no “Indefinite Detention Bill” in Congress, and no amount of intellectually dishonest gymnastics can create one. But Medicare has always been a public system, in which doctors submit bills to the program, and they get paid. Under the Paul Ryan plan, seniors would receive vouchers for private insurance, and the public system would have been dismantled. Sorry, but since that changes what Medicare was always conceived to be, saying that the Republican plan doesn’t dismantle it simply doesn’t pass the smell test.  

They jumped through a number of hoops to draw the conclusion that we Democrats and liberals were lying. Check out this faulty “logic:”

But more often, Democrats and liberals overreached:

 They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare — or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.

 They used harsh terms such as "end" and "kill" when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.

 They used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan. The DCCC video that aired four days after the vote featured an elderly man who had to take a job as a stripper to pay his medical bills.

"Both parties use entitlements as political weapons," Ryan said in an interview with PolitiFact. "Republicans do it to Democrats; Democrats do it to Republicans. So I knew that this would be a political weapon that the other side would use against us."

Basically, because no one under 55 would be affected, it’s not a lie? I’m 53. I’ve been working and paying Medicare taxes for 37 years. I’ve been paying those taxes with the promise that, when I turn 65, my health insurance will be taken care of. Now, I’m essentially being told by Politifact to stop my whining; that it doesn’t really change anything. 

Well, my father just died a couple of weeks ago, and among the paperwork I’ve been looking through have been his medical bills, and I figured out that Medicare paid more than $27,000 of his medical bills in the last year of his life, and another $4,000 was paid by his Part B insurance (for which he was paying $227 a month), with him having to pay about $1,000 out of pocket. Under the Ryan plan, my father would have gotten a voucher for private insurance that would have covered about $20,000 of that amount, and he would have to pay about double for supplemental insurance to cover the other $7,000 PLUS the $4,000 they cover now. Proportionally speaking, my father would be looking at covering three times as much of his own health care expenses. And my father was relatively healthy for a 76 year old man; imagine if he had cancer or some other chronic illness? What if he needed physical therapy? 

Plus, participation in Medicare would be voluntary. That means, those folks who are having trouble making ends meet could forego paying for Medicare altogether, and we’d end up with a huge pool of seniors without health insurance. Politifact might quibble with the photos of current seniors who won’t be affected by the plan, but as someone who is 53, I am well aware that I am not that far from that age, and I’m being told MY insurance won’t cover shit, even though I’ve been paying into the system for 37 years.

It’s not a lie at all to say that Republicans didn’t vote to kill Medicare. What Ryan proposed was NOT Medicare.

Medicare is NOT a privatized system. Medicare is us paying for our parents’ health care now, and receiving a promise that the next generation will take care of us in return. Under the Ryan plan, there will be a HUGE pool of seniors who will have ZERO health insurance upon retirement. Plus, those of us on that bubble, who have been paying for private insurance for years and looking forward to the day when we could tell private insurers to piss off, will find ourselves paying MORE for insurance in our retirement than we were paying during our working years (MOST companies pay at least 75-80% of our premiums for us, Ryan’s “kill Medicare” plan would pay 61%). Not only that, but Ryan’s plan would also kill the parts of the Affordable Care Act that allowed 30 million more people to be covered, which would return us to the hyperinflation in health care that we’ve seen the past 30 years.

Essentially, Politifact is claiming that Medicare without the benefits we were always promised is still Medicare, simply because Ryan calls it Medicare. I’d like to point the Politifact authors to my father’s former “mansion,” which is for sale, including an acre of land in the middle of
the desert. I was going to charge $36,000 for it, but Politifact has inspired me to just call it a mansion and demand $360,000, since I can apparently call anything a mansion, and it magically becomes one. Here’s a pic; anyone who wants to buy this mansion for $360,000, feel free to send me an email. Although, I will take $36,000, or the best offer.

                                 Photo westside

                                                    Mansion, anyone?

The Ryan plan would have killed Medicare, it would have killed the concept of Medicare, and Politifact should be ashamed of themselves for not only saying otherwise, but for dubbing it “Lie of the Year.”

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  1. Politifact is essentially arguing that if Republicans were to pass a bill that abolished police departments and replaced them with a new program called “police departments”, in which we were given a coupon/voucher to pay for a private security detail, it would not be abolishing police departments. Our media is so gutless they actually accept these arguments at face value and refuse to objectively call Republicans out.

  2. The first sentence of GG’s article:
    “Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
    My concern is about how we come across to the people we have to reach to have electoral success. People WILL read that article, they WILL look for an “indefinite detention bill” and they will not find it. They will then ask their friends about it, and depending on who they ask…
    This is a problem I’ve been dealing with for many years. A certain group of progressives seems to have an idea that only other like minds see what they write, and as long as everyone knows the secret handshake, all is right with the world. We don’t reach the average voter because we speak in code, deluded into thinking it makes us sound smarter. It doesn’t.
    Glenn Greenwald lied. He said several things that were untrue. There were even MORE things I didn’t even mention. For example, who were all these “supporters” who were spreading these “myths.” Go ahead; Google them; the only item that will come up is GG’s article. No one was even talking about these “myths,” the alleged “supporters” seem to have been operating in secret.
    Get used to this. The Fox-ification of the progressive media will NOT go unchallenged. You can nitpick all you want, but you have yet to even address the core arguments I made.
    Oh, and by the way, “then we rolled our eyes again” is childish as shit. No one gives a shit what you and the mouse in your pocket have to say about anything. Speak for yourself; you don’t get extra points for claiming “a bunch of us” thought a certain way.

  3. Let’s not regress now, Milt. You already admitted that Glenn Greenwald never called the NDAA the “Indefinite Detention Bill”. Let’s not back pedal.
    Glenn Greenwald said that there provisions that were embedded within the NDAA — he called those provisions a bill — that provided for indefinite detention.
    You shrieked, “You can’t call those provisions a bill, they are just amendments, liar liar pants on fire!”
    The rest of us rolled our eyes.
    Then you shreiked, “You can’t say those sections are “embedded” in the NDAA, they are “contained in” in the bill. Liar, liar pants on fire!”
    Then we rolled our eyes again.
    Seriously, you need to drop this whole nonsense about the name of the bill. Nobody is confused and nobody cares.

  4. Having also been involved with both my Mom and Dad’s final illnesses and their bills, I know much more about Medicare and what it will and will not pay than many people. Part of the problem, I think, is that the average person who hasn’t had to deal with something like this doesn’t understand how much most elderly people have to live on and how much it actually costs for their healthcare.
    I’ve been very shocked by Politifact’s “Biggest Lie of The Year” because it perpetuates much of the misinformation people have about what Medicare is and what it actually will pay for.

  5. There IS NO “Indefinite Detention Bill” in Congress. None. Zip. Nada.
    And calling the actual legislation the “Indefinite Detention Bill” is not lying — it’s an act of criticism. It’s an opinion.
    Either you’re unbelievably thick or you’re being deliberately disingenuous in continuing this argument.

  6. Um, Square?
    Your logical skills are suspect, but this stretch is a huge one, even for you.
    There IS NO “Indefinite Detention Bill” in Congress. None. Zip. Nada.
    OTOH, Republicans DID vote for a bill that would have completely dismantled the entire Medicare apparatus for about 90% of the people paying Medicare taxes, and replaced it with a whole other apparatus.
    See the difference?
    No, probably not. You really can’t read.

  7. You can debate whether the Democratic attack on the Ryan plan as abolishing Medicare is a fair characterization. What you can’t say is that Democrats are lying.
    Having said that,…
    “• They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare — or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.
    • They used harsh terms such as “end” and “kill” when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.”
    Ironically, this is exactly the same type of “logic” that Milt employed in attacking Greenwald and others.
    Milt disagreed with their conclusions about both the substance of the detainment provisions and the politics the legislation. Therefore, Greenwald and others were “lying.” Rather amusing to see Milt bumping his head against someone employing this arguing tactic.

  8. You know how picky I can be. There really is no “Indefinite Detention Bill” in Congress, and no amount of intellectually dishonest gymnastics can create one
    Oh for crying out loud….

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