I don't trust Cory Booker as far as I can throw him, so this Facebook post doesn't surprise me. See, Cory is an ambitious young man and a whore quite friendly with the for-profit schools industry and Wall Street, so it's very important that he justifies closing public schools. Wait, let's say Big Pharma's leaving New Jersey because no one's smart enough to work for them!
Attn Cory Booker fans:
We saw you on the DailyShow last night and the stuff you said about the state of New Jersey being desperately short of bio-medical researchers made us sick to our stomachs.
You have to know this is not true. How could you NOT know this is not true? It’s so easy to prove with cold hard numbers and statistics. The big pharmas are pulling out of New Jersey to go to Massachusetts because Massachusetts offered them almost half a Billion dollars in taxpayer money to relocate there. They are leaving thousands and thousands of us behind. That’s thousands and thousands of well-educated, technically proficient TAXPAYERS. That’s where the unemployment money is going, Cory. Those companies take the money that Massachusetts is offering, dump thousands and thousands of us on the state of New Jersey’s unemployment rolls and then relocate only a tiny fraction of their workforce to Massachusetts. What do they do with the rest of the tax incentives? Beats me but I’m sure the shareholders are happy.
The idea that you would actually believe a pharma lobbyist who tells you he can’t find good help anymore in NJ and now has to outsource and that you would voluntarily spread this misinformation without actually checking to see if what they’re telling you is true or not defies explanation. It makes no sense, Cory. It is UN-believable. You either know that you are willfully lying, compromised by people who you view as your true “peers” or you’re dumber than a box of rocks."
I know two of those people left behind, both of them more than qualified. I guess they're just stupid, though.
Let me stipulate this up front: I don't hate anyone. There are people I dislike. There are people I scorn. There are people I believe have lost the right to ever have a national platform again. But "hate" is a word I reserve for concepts, not people. I hate willful ignorance and bigotry (which I find go hand in hand); I hate liars, endless wars, poverty, the exploitation of those perceived as being different or weak, your typical bleeding heart liberal stuff.
But people are different. It is the simplistic mind that thinks that people can be neatly categorized into all bad or all good. Dick Cheney and I are far more sympatico on gay rights than arguably President Obama and I are. Even Adolf Hitler had a girlfriend who adored him and was willing to die with him. Clearly, there are aspects of lovableness in even the most repellant of human figures.
What I’m hoping the lesson is: People are complex and can hold different views and still be moral actors — essentially the message that Jon Stewart talked about during his Rally for Sanity.
Maybe you already grasp that concept, because you have good friends or loving relatives with beliefs that are wildly divergent from your own. But I tend to think my experience is more typical: I lived in a little bubble surrounded by people who think more or less like me. And when I considered people with opposing viewpoints I would turn into a fabulist, concocting an entire narrative of who they were and what they were like — and what they were like was yucko. Because I was not really interacting with them. I just thought I was, because, hey, look, there they are on the TV, or there’s that guy’s post in the comments section. But that stuff doesn’t count. Meeting people counts. Talking counts.
So yes, I love to loathe people, but my “Daily Show” experience complicated all that and sort of spoiled my fun. When I’m exposed to views that I dislike, I try to remind myself of the human being behind those views and to cut that person some slack. I hope that they would do the same. I think we should all fight hard for what we believe in, but I’d like to put in a request for some general slack cutting – especially as we move deeper into what is sure to be a very heated campaign season.
I see a fairly big and erroneous assumption in Rubens' realization. What I (and I suspect, Rubens) define as "moral actors" do not necessarily match up with how Paul Ryan defines it. And moreover, one can be the cuddliest, most lovable person in personal interactions, but if one advocates or implements actions that hurt people, what measure matters the most? I have met the same deathly earnest liberals that Howard Kurtz want Rubens to bring up for the sake of equivalence, but their lack of humor or personal jerkiness is mitigated in my mind because they're advocating for things that are for the common good. If anyone should have some slack cut, it's them.
This is the banality of evil that Hannah Arendt warned about. And (sadly, ensuring that no one from this site ever gets on Reliable Sources) that includes Howard Kurtz. His entire media career is based on not looking at the consequences of actions, but of the messaging. He clutches his metaphorical pearls over news anchors getting upset over getting talking points but never considers that the interviewee was not answering the questions posed to him. He becomes indignant at Al Sharpton covering the Trayvon Martin shooting because he flew down to Florida to support Trayvon's parents and call for an investigation, but says nothing at the Fox News influence and coordination of tea party events. Each and every column he did for the Washington Post and does for the Daily Beast glosses over the very real and very evil ramifications and consequences of these actions in exchange for more self-important navel-gazing of oh-so-clever journalists who don't even bother to place their reporting in context or fact check their subjects.
It's all well and good that Howie doesn't hate Mike Rubens. I'm sure Rubens will be comforted by that. But I hate what Kurtz does every day, because it's hurting the country.
You may have seen David Barton on Jon Stewart the other night, or on several other shows, plugging his new book, "The Jefferson Lies." Barton is a right-wing fundie who's rewritten history to make Thomas Jefferson a religious man who never wanted religion out of public life. (You may also know him as a "professor" at the famous Beck University.) Slacktivist's Fred Clark, famous for calling out the charlatans in his faith, has a bone to pick with how the mainstream media depicts David Barton:
And then Gilgoff refuses to answer his own question.
Instead, Gilgoff retreats into a wretched, flaccid display of false-equivalence, view-from-nowhere, opinions-on-the-shape-of-earth-differ non-journalism.
“Barton’s work has drawn many critics,” Gilgoff writes, in lieu of actual journalism.
That’s a remarkable sentence. It’s like saying, “Bernie Madoff’s investment skills have drawn many critics.” Or, “Ty Cobb’s sportsmanship has drawn many critics.” Or, “Leroy Jenkins’ teamwork has drawn many critics.”
Who is David Barton? David Barton is a man who says things that are not true.
David Barton makes stuff up. He surgically alters quotations deliberately in order to deceive others.
David Barton says things that are not true. He is not merely “controversial.” He is not merely “a lightning rod for critics.” His many, many false assertions are not merely “disputed” or “questioned” or “challenged.”
David Barton says things that are not true. After being repeatedly, publicly corrected, he repeats those very same untrue statements. This is what he does. This is how he makes his living.
David Barton has not attracted “critics.” David Barton says things that are not true, and those Gilgoff mislabels as his “critics” are simply those many, many people who have pointed out the many, many untrue things that David Barton has said. His false statements are obvious. His false statements are extravagant. His false statements are hard to miss.
David Barton says things that are not true. That is the primary, pre-eminent, pervasive fact about David Barton.
To say anything else about David Barton without also saying that is to be inaccurate, misleading and dishonest.
I don't question the necessity of pointing out Barton's history of outright falsehoods, explaining the fallacies of his presentism (as in using a 1765 sermon or a 1792 congressional vote to show that the original intent of the founders was to oppose bailout and stimulus plans), and introducing to non-experts the abundant evidence calling his historical worldview of the Christian Founders into question. Yet while these kinds of refutations are necessary, they are not sufficient. That's because Barton's project is not fundamentally an historical one.
That's why historians' takedown of his ahistorical approach ultimately won't matter that much. Nor will historians' explanations of his presentism, and his obvious and unapologetic ideological agenda (albeit considerably muted for his appearance on The Daily Show). While all the historians' refutations are good and necessary, ultimately they won't matter for the audience which exists in his alternate intellectual universe, one described in much greater detail in my colleague Randall Stephens' forthcoming book The Anointed: Evangelical Experts in a Secular Age...
After all the refutations and belittling of pedigree, Barton still appears in a New York Times "puff piece," argues with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, and fields calls from congressmen and presidential candidates. In short, if this were a basketball game between Barton and professional historians, in some ways it's already a rout, with Barton far ahead and the scrubs in to play out the garbage time.
Some of that is because of the skill of Barton and his organization WallBuilders at ideological entrepreneurialism. Barton's intent is not to produce "scholarship," but to influence public policy. He simply is playing a different game than worrying about scholarly credibility, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. His game is to inundate public policy makers (including local and state education boards as well as Congress) with ideas packaged as products that will move policy.
And once again, our librul media is easily outplayed.
After the opening part of his segment where Jon Stewart gave us an overview of Herman Cain's recent campaign meltdown and how that means, in his words, that Mitt Romney is “the luckiest Motherfudger on Earth”, Stewart explained just what he thinks happened to Rick Perry during his bizarre speech in New Hampshire this past weekend.
I don't think that this fact can be overemphasized as we have various corporate media and political pundits seek to minimize Occupy Wall Street: We are the richest nation in the world. There is a massive amount of wealth here, enough to keep each and every citizen living at a very comfortable level. The problem is that there is also a staggering income inequality as well, more so than in some third world nations, like Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique and Tunisia. Again, the richest nation in the world cannot serve its citizens as equitably as Mozambique. In a word: unacceptable.
One of the ways that Wall Street has caused this massive shift of wealth strictly to the top 1 percent is in the way corporations have decimated pension funds. Investigative journalist Ellen Schultz wrote the book Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers to illustrate how these corporations have pulled a reverse Robin Hood and robbed from the working poor to give yet even more to the rich. From the publisher's description:
It's no secret that hundreds of companies have been slashing pensions and health coverage earned by millions of retirees. Employers blame an aging workforce, stock market losses, and spiraling costs- what they call "a perfect storm" of external forces that has forced them to take drastic measures.
But this so-called retirement crisis is no accident. Ellen E. Schultz, award-winning investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, reveals how large companies and the retirement industry-benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks-have all played a huge and hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits.
A little over a decade ago, most companies had more than enough set aside to pay the benefits earned by two generations of workers, no matter how long they lived. But by exploiting loopholes, ambiguous regulations, and new accounting rules, companies essentially turned their pension plans into piggy banks, tax shelters, and profit centers.
Drawing on original analysis of company data, government filings, internal corporate documents, and confidential memos, Schultz uncovers decades of widespread deception during which employers have exaggerated their retiree burdens while lobbying for government handouts, secretly cutting pensions, tricking employees, and misleading shareholders. She reveals how companies:
Siphon billions of dollars from their pension plans to finance downsizings and sell the assets in merger deals
Overstate the burden of rank-and-file retiree obligations to justify benefits cuts while simultaneously using the savings to inflate executive pay and pensions
Hide their growing executive pension liabilities, which at some companies now exceed the liabilities for the regular pension plans
Purchase billions of dollars of life insurance on workers and use the policies as informal executive pension funds. When the insured workers and retirees die, the company collects tax-free death benefits
Preemptively sue retirees after cutting retiree health benefits and use other legal strategies to erode their legal protections.
Though the focus is on large companies-which drive the legislative agenda-the same games are being played at smaller companies, non-profits, public pensions plans and retirement systems overseas. Nor is this a partisan issue: employees of all political persuasions and income levels-from managers to miners, pro- football players to pilots-have been slammed.
I keep hearing the gatekeepers of the 1 percent telling the rest of us that we're broke, that we don't have the money to allow hardworking people the dignity of a retirement they've earned. Let's be clear: this is a huge lie being perpetuated on 99 percent of us so that the 1 percent can keep stealing our hard earned money.
The combination of this Washington Post article, with its references to Grover Norquist’s sacred texts, and the Jon Stewart clip below had me highly entertained today:
Far-right Republican fundamentalists have led their party straight into a concrete dead end. No one except their own tiny minority of no tax/no government churchgoers is buying their shtick anymore, and they are trapped. No fact can reach them, because their dogma is too thick. No argument or logic will sway them. Polling showing them losing the issue debate by big numbers doesn’t matter. Appeals to their morality fall on deaf ears.
But now they are in even deeper trouble, because their corporate masters have come calling. The bankers on Wall Street know that while most Americans would feel the effects of the economic consequences of not raising the debt ceiling, they would be the first to feel the pain, and that isn’t acceptable to them, so they are calling in their massive amount of chits. John Boehner being willing to cut a deal with Obama on taxes was the first sign of it; Mitch McConnell turning tail and crying uncle with his rather strange proposal was the second signal. There’s a problem, though: the Republicans have dug themselves so far in with the tea partiers on the lunatic fringe, they are having trouble returning to the land of reality. In the 30 years I have been involved in politics, the Republicans have been one of the most disciplined, lockstep political machines in American history, but today they are in complete disarray. It’s called meltdown, and it isn’t pretty. Caught between crazy tea partiers and big business guys used to having their orders followed to a T, they are in a very bad place.
I have plenty of complaints about Democratic politicians, but at least most of them are sane. The Republicans have locked themselves in a big building that looks increasingly like an asylum, and they are in deep trouble. We’ll see what happens next, but it doesn’t get more interesting than this.
I've made my feelings on PolitiFact clear previously. For a group that claims to be non-partisan and interested in the fact-based reporting, there's precious little of that in the larger editorial choices of whom to fact check and how they rate the lie. They will let some rather large and disgusting lies go unchallenged when it comes from a Republican but focus on a small rhetorical flourish when it comes from a Democrat to pounce on them and declare their statement false.
And so it was with Jon Stewart's interview on Fox News Sunday. Politifact seized on the word "every" in Stewart's confrontation of Chris Wallace's bizarre rationalization that Fox is simply offering the other side of the story": Do you know who consistently is misinformed in every poll?" and rated Stewart's statement as false. Now, one of the things my parents drummed in my head during my petulant teen years is that qualifiers like that are useless. No one is ever "always" wrong, and "every" event doesn't necessarily have the same result and saying that someone "never" listens is manifestly untrue. But they are rhetorical flourishes that people use to round up a larger truth. And while it's true that not every poll shows Fox News viewers as the most uninformed, the unqualified truth is that they are *consistently* the least informed and Politifact is being disingenuous to claim otherwise.
in an environment in which conservatives are more inaccurate and more misinformed about science and basic policy facts, the “fact checkers” nevertheless feel unduly compelled to correct “liberal” errors too—which is fine, as long as they are really errors. But sometimes they aren’t. A case in point is Politifact’s recent and deeply misguided attempt to correct Jon Stewart on the topic of…misinformation and Fox News. This is a subject on which we’ve developed some expertise here…my recent post on studies showing that Fox News viewers are more misinformed, on an array of issues, is the most comprehensive such collection that I’m aware of, at least when it comes to public opinion surveys detecting statistical correlations between being misinformed about contested facts and Fox News viewership. I’ve repeatedly asked whether anyone knows of additional studies—including contradictory studies—but none have yet been cited. Stewart, very much in the vein of my prior post, went on the air with Fox’s Chris Wallace and stated, "Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll." My research, and my recent post, most emphatically supports this statement. Indeed, I cited five (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) separate public opinion studies in support of it—although I carefully noted that these studies do not prove causation (e.g., that watching Fox News causes one to be more misinformed). The causal arrow could very well run the other way—believing wrong things could make one more likely to watch Fox News in the first place. But the fundamental point is, when it comes to believing political misinformation and watching Fox News, I know of no other studies than these five--though I’d be glad to see additional studies produced. Until then, these five all point in one obvious direction.
The specific, on point surveys that validate what Stewart said were conveniently ignored. Hmmmmm....
To rebut Stewart’s claim, Politifact relied upon irrelevant and off-point studies. Thus, the site cited a number of Pew surveys that examine basic political literacy and relate it to what kind of media citizens consume. E.g., questions like whether people know “who the vice president is, who the president of Russia is, whether the Chief Justice is conservative, which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives and whether the U.S. has a trade deficit.”
Too few citizens know the answers to such basic questions—which is lamentable, but also irrelevant in the current context. These are not contested issues, nor are they skewed by an active misinformation campaign. As a result, on such issues, many Americans may be ill-informed but liberals and conservatives are nevertheless able to agree.
There's no other word than "dumbass" that adequately describes Arizona State University's decision not to award President Obama an honorary degree when he addresses the school's commencement today.
Sure, you can cook up lame excuses, such as that the school instead decided to name a scholarship program after him. That's nice. It's still an insult. A dumbass insult.
The Daily Show's Jason Jones visited Tempe to get some of the flavor of local sentiments. That same word kept coming to mind as we watched ASU students try to explain why Obama didn't deserve an honorary degree. My favorite:
"We're trying to be like the Cambridges, where they don't give out any, uh, honorary degrees. Make them so, uh, prestigious. To give them to, like, important people. Heads of state and stuff like that."
"Wull, I've been at ASU for three or four years, and I don't have a degree yet. Why does he deserve one for being in office for 100 days?"
Fox: That's when it got fun. People think that's when it got bad for me, but that's when it got fun. When -- when -- when -- Rush Limbaugh -- gawd, I can barely say the name --
Stewart: So many of us have that issue.
Fox: But when he kind of launched his attack, it was just -- I just had this moment where I went, 'Oh my God. Is it that predictable? Is it that cartoonish, that you'd, like, attack the messenger in this way and not even deal with the merits of the science at all?
Stewart: It's absolutely that predictable.
Fox: It was that cartoonish. And, what was great, was that allowed me to then start a dialogue, start a conversation -- we basically hijacked the last two weeks of that midterm election talking about stem-cell research, which nobody wanted to talk about. And it was, was -- in spite of the fact that I was deadly serious about it, there was kind of a Merry Prankster thing to it ...
Stewart: You couldn't believe the theater on it. When you explained to your daughter about that, did you explain: "His brain works differently. It's diseased"?
Wyatt Cenac filed the report from London for Jon Stewart on Thursday night's Daily Show, and he was shocked, shocked by the angry protests:
It's bulls--t, John. I'm hearing anti-American slogans, I'm seeing angry protests. This was not the deal. The deal was, we give them Obama, they don't hate us anymore.
You bait-and-switch m---f---rs, you tricked us!
I already ripped the Canadian flag off my knapsacks -- and the back of this suit. What am I supposed to do now?
At some point, a brick enters the picture.
Look, the chancellor of Germany, hey! Remember when our last president tried to feel you up? Has the new guy told you you look tense and tried to look down your shirt? Did he pretend to fall and grab your boobs? No! Quit your whining and agree with our economic policy!
No, I thought the only reason they never cooperated with us was because the last guy was such a dick!
They've got Taylor Hicks syndrome. They begged us to vote for a guy, and now that he's won, nobody's buying his album. Suck it up, Europe, he's your American Idol!
Of course, Hannity and O'Reilly and the rest of the Fox crew busily plumped the "Europeans still hate us" meme all week, as usual, mewling piteously about how they're a bunch of "whackos over there" (O'Reilly's phrasing) and so on. But then, they thought "the last guy" was not a dick but a prince among men.
So the brick-throwing thing does indeed come readily to mind as a measured and appropriate response.