11 Distortions, Misrepresentations and Outright Lies in the GOP Debate

Source: Alternet

Author: Zaid Julani

Emphasis Mine

Last night, millions of Americans watched two rounds of Republican Party presidential debates – first a debate among candidates who have failed to achieve more than one percent in national polls, and second a debate among relative frontrunners.

Both debates offered a window into an entirely different world, completely unrelated to the world we actually live in. Candidates made statement after statement that represented distortion, mistruths, and outright lies. Here are 11 whoppers:

1. Insisting That Hispanics Used to Love Republicans: Lindsey Graham scolded the other three candidates in his debate, telling them that Hispanics voted for “us” under previous Republican president George W. Bush. Although it’s true that frontrunner Donald Trump has depleted much of what was left of Hispanic support for the GOP, even under Bush, that wasn’t a vote they won. At the high point in 2004, Bush won 44 percent of that vote, and Romney won only 27 percent.

2. Ridiculously Saying That Iran Threatens The Whole Western World: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wanted the audience to know that Iran threatens the “essence of Western civilization.” Except Iran’s defense budget is around $10 billion, a fractionof our own $600 plus billion defense budget. How a country with no weapons of mass destruction and a tiny defense budget can be threatening the United States, let alone our NATO allies, was not explained by Huckabee. Probably because it makes no sense.

3. Implying the U.S. Government Funds Abortion: Over and over, the assertion was made that the United States federal government finances abortions, such as by giving subsidies to Planned Parenthood. While you can make a convoluted argument that money is indirectly spread around, the fact is the the federal government has followed a blanket ban on such funding except in cases of rape, incest, or when it threatens the health of the mother.

4. Claiming Obama Is Trying to Circumvent the Process to Let In Syrian Refugees: Bobby Jindal said that Obama was trying to “short-circuit the vetting process” to let in Syrian refugees, a dangerous dog whistle to imply that the president was going to let in terrorists. As CNN’s own fact-check pointed out, the 10,000 refugees – truly a paltry amount – are slated to come in through the exact same process as any other refugees.

5. Saying We Are Almost the Only Ones With Birthright Citizenship:Trump said almost no one else – including Mexico – has birthright citizenship, and moderator Jake Tapper agreed with him. That’s true, if you think the entire rest of the world consists of Europe. Almost everywhere in the Americas has birthright citizenship and that includes Mexico.

6. Rubio Telling a Fantastic But False Story About His Grandfather:Senator Rubio gave an emotional address about his grandfather supposedly fleeing Castro to come to the United States. There’s just a problem: the story doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. As has been reported in the past, his family came to the United States long before Castro even came to power.

7. Stating That North Korea Can Hit Us With a Nuclear Weapon: Rubio also claimed that North Korea could hit us with a nuclear weapon. Unless they plan to send a team on a boat carrying one, it’s not going to happen – there is very little evidence that they have a functional intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

8. Saying, With A Straight Face, That Bush Kept Us Safe: “My brother kept us safe,” said Jeb Bush. This is a pretty ironic thing to say five days after the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, which his brother obviously did not keep us safe from.

9. Going Back to the Tired “Sanctuary” Arguments About Terrorists:Rubio made the argument that we needed to stay in Iraq, invade Afghanistan, and have our military all over the world to prevent terrorists from having “sanctuary” – but as the Boston Bombing, Charleston, and many other attacks prove, terrorists don’t need to have a physical space to plot attacks, and a giant military presence in a foreign country doesn’t necessarily prevent them so much as give them recruits.

10. Telling People Marijuana Is More Harmful Than Beer: Carly Fiorina, disupting Rand Paul’s more libertarian view on drugs, said that smoking marijuana isn’t like having a beer. Actually marijuana is much safer than alcohol – is linked to “one in 10 deaths among working-age adults can be attributed to excessive alcohol use.”

11. Lying About Vaccines: Trump boosted theories that vaccinations are linked to autism; despite Ben Carson’s intervention that this wasn’t true, Rand Paul still went on to tout the “voluntary” nature of smallpox vaccinations – actually they were not voluntary, they were mandated and financed by a global government effort through the World Health Organization.


The Facts Behind Romney and Ryan’s Medicare Lies

First and foremost, the Ryan plan, in any form, would mark the end of Medicare as we know it—as a guarantee of health coverage for senior citizens

From: workingamerica blog

By: Seth D. Michaels

N.B.: A concise, lucid explanation of what they say, what they mean, and what we need.

“It took approximately five minutes after the announcement of Paul Ryan as the Republican running mate for the spin to begin. Anxious to pre-empt a conversation about Ryan’s plan to end the guarantee of Medicare, the Mitt Romney campaign ison the air with some (strikingly dishonest) Medicare ads of their own. They have plenty of money to advance this message, so it’s worth unpacking what’s really going on.

First and foremost, the Ryan plan, in any form, would mark the end of Medicare as we know it—as a guarantee of health coverage for senior citizens. Instead, it would give older people a voucher to go buy their own private insurance. The Ryan budget would also increase the eligibility age, delaying the time when retirees could get Medicare. That’s the proposal the U.S. House voted on and passed in March and it’s the model Ryan has continued to promote even as he’s suggested possible tweaks.

So let’s move on to the claims the Romney campaign is making. The Affordable Care Act is paid for partly through billions in future savings—about $700 billion over 10 years in reduced payments to health insurance companies and providers. A lot of that money stays in the Medicare system, by paying for free preventative care for seniors and closing the prescription drug “doughnut hole.” The attack leveled by Romney, Ryan and their allies—an attack that’s Jonathan Cohn rightly called “astoundingly cynical”—is that this constitutes a massive cut to Medicare.

But here’s the catch: in the Ryan budget that passed, these future savings are included, even as the rest of the ACA is repealed. So the same reductions that the Romney campaign is complaining about were voted on and approved by Ryan and virtually every House Republican.

In the ACA, the cost savings that come out of Medicare go back into the health care system. In the Ryan budget, they’ll be needed to pay for the massive tax cuts proposed in that plan. Cohn notes that not only does this money get pulled out of providing health care entirely, but the attack the Romney campaign is making is a “brazen misrepresentation of reality.” Or, to say it in fewer and shorter words, “a lie.”

The Ryan plan doesn’t replace the guarantee with the vouchers for 10 years, so that major change doesn’t immediately affect today’s retirees. But the repeal of the ACA’s provisions on prescription drugs and preventative care absolutely will. If those provisions are gone, seniors who are on Medicare now will be paying hundreds of dollars more out of pocket. Ryan’s cuts to Medicaid, which many seniors depend on for nursing home care, would also have a big impact—his proposed cuts to Medicaid and the repeal of the ACA Medicaid expansion are a big and under-covered change in his budget. Some 6 million of today’s retirees depend on Medicaid and could lose out under Ryan’s plan. This is what was in the Ryan budget the House passed, and he hasn’t backed off of this at all.

What’s more, if Ryan’s plan kicks in ten years from now, today’s Medicare beneficiaries will getan unpleasant wake-up call as the voucher plan starts to erode the program:

In 2022, when the limited-subsidy program would be introduced, seniors who qualified for traditional Medicare would be allowed to switch to the new program. If healthier or younger beneficiaries make the change to lower their out-of-pocket costs, those still participating in Medicare would be part of an insurance pool that is less healthy and more expensive. To cover those higher per-person costs, Medicare might well be forced to either raise premiums or limit reimbursements to health care providers—which could prompt many to stop taking Medicare patients.

Romney has suggested he may back off of the Medicare savings that Ryan included in his original budget. But in that case, the Ryan budget math gets even more implausible. And by the standards Romney has laid out for how he wants his budget to work, Medicare would have to be slashed either way. That these cuts to programs for vulnerable people would be required in order to pass his huge tax cuts for the rich adds insult to injury. As Derek Thompson notes, Romney’s proposals “have clear and inevitable conclusions: Tax cuts for the richest and spending cuts for the poorest.”

It’s hard to overstate how hypocritical and dishonest the new Romney-Ryan attacks over Medicare are, coming from two people who have pledged changes so radical that they’d leave it unrecognizable.

Emphasis Mine


News Alert: Fox Misinforms!

In refuting Stewart’s claim, Fox naturally went ahead and misinformed its viewers.

From Altetrnet, By Joshua Holland

Jon Stewart Was Right About Fox ‘News’ Viewers Being the Most Misinformed Citizens

In refuting Stewart’s claim, Fox naturally went ahead and misinformed its viewers.
“Fox News’ attempts at humor have failed miserably over the years. Think of its snooze-fest “comedies” — shows like the “Red Eye” (filler broadcast at 3am) and the rapidly canceled “1/2-Hour News Hour.” But its capacity for unintentional humor is truly unparalleled.

On Monday, the Fox Nation website featured a report aboutJon Stewart’s much-discussed dustup with Chris Wallace last weekend. During the back and forth, Stewart asked Wallace, “in polls, who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed?” His answer: “Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.”

Fox Nation offered a sneering rebuttal to that claim, dismissing it as yet more evidence of the Vast Liberal Conspiracy to oppress conservatives. The piece would be hilarious if not for the fact that it casts the Right’s counterfactual worldview in sharp relief.

The site answered Stewart by posting the results of some Fox viewer polls and then asking, “Does this sound misinformed to you?”

91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs

• 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit

72 percent believe the economy is getting worse

60 percent believe climate change is not occurring

Does this sound misinformed? Why, yes, very much so! Maybe a step above the level of angry seniors whose hypertension spikes over right-wing chain-emails, but just a step, and there’s plenty of audience overlap.

On the first point: as the Washington Post reported last summer, “Obama’s much-maligned economic stimulus package added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy during the second quarter of this year, and may have prevented the nation from lapsing back into recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.” Yet nine out of 10 Fox viewers believe the opposite to be true.

The CBO also said that the Affordable Care Act will decrease projected deficits in the future, and that repealing it would make our fiscal outlook significantly worse. Seven out of 10 Fox viewers believe the opposite to be true.

The consensus among economists is that the U.S. economy is in a very sluggish, lackluster period of recovery. A few predict that we may be heading toward a “double-dip” recession at some point in the future, but I’m unaware of a single expert, anywhere on the political spectrum, who would argue that the economy is now actuallygetting worse than it has been over the past three years. Yet seven out of 10 Fox viewers believe it is….

And 60 percent of Fox viewers believe that climate change isn’t occurring, which means that 60 percent think that virtually all of the world’s climatologists are engaged in a grand conspiracy to deceive the public in order to … well, to destroy capitalism, according to some of the more unhinged conservative voices in the debate. That should come as no surprise – a leaked memo from Fox News’ Washington managing editor ordered the network’s correspondents to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

But all that’s just a punchline. The joke is that in an attempt to push back against the demonstrably accurate claim that Fox viewers are the most misinformed news consumers, Fox Nation… misinformed its readers.

Emphasis Mine
For the whole post,

see: http://www.alternet.org/story/151368/jon_stewart_was_right_about_fox_%27news%27_viewers_being_the_most_misinformed_citizens?akid=7144.123424.EtmIW2&rd=1&t=8

The Republican Swindle About ‘Obamacare and Stimulus’

The Republican strategy for this midterm election is simple: Treat voters like easily manipulated hoopleheads

Bob Cesca

If you happen to be a swing voter who’s considering the Republican slate next month, you’re being tricked. That’s not to say you’re an idiot, but the Republicans are doing an excellent job masking over what they really stand for, and millions of Americans seem to be falling for it.

The Republican strategy for this midterm election is simple: Treat voters like easily manipulated hoopleheads. The GOP and its various apparatchiks are spending untold millions of dollars, much of it from anonymous donors and, perhaps, even some illegal foreign donors, in order to play out this nationwide swindle. They’re investing heavily on the wager that Americans are so kerfuffled by the slow-growth (but growth nevertheless) economy that they’re willing to buy any line of nonsense as an alternative solution.

Regarding that nonsense, just about every GOP solution and every GOP idea reveals either a hilariously obvious contradiction or an utterly transparent hypocrisy. Say nothing of unchecked awfulness like Southern Strategy race-baiting or bald-faced lies. But it doesn’t seem to matter much because they’ve buried most of it under heaping piles of inchoate outrage and fear. Just like always. It’s not unlike the 2000s all over again. They’re engaging in the same bumper sticker sloganeering and myopic agitprop, but with updated content for 2010.

If you’ve seen any of the Republican TV spots this cycle, you’re probably familiar with the focus-group-tested duet of fear: “Obamacare and Stimulus.” For example, that infamous John Raese commercial featuring two not-West-Virginian West Virginians in full “hicky” regalia discussing why they’re voting Republican. Among the reasons: “Obamacare and Stimulus.” No specific reasons why those items are evil, they’re just two scary things the hicky guys are pissed about.

And why aren’t there any specific gripes cited along with those two items? Because the actual gripes are ridiculous.

Let’s start with “Obamacare,” then hit “Stimulus” presently.

The Republicans are trying to tell us that the health-care-reform bill is a hugely expensive trespass against freedom and liberty. This obviously refers to the price tag and the individual mandate. What they don’t mention is that “Obamacare” will actually achieve several very significant goals.

1) The health-care-reform bill will help working and middle class Americans to afford quality health insurance via hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies. For example, families of four earning $54,000 will see their insurance premiums reduced by around $10,000 per year. That’s a lot. Who in their right mind would turn down a government check for $10,000? Every year. That’s a full semester of state university tuition, among other things.

2) Contrary to the “Obama-is-spending-too-much” meme, the bill does not increase the deficit. According to the nonpartisan CBO, the bill cuts the deficit by $130 billion over ten years. Put another way, all that scaremongering about the cost of the bill is just that: scaremongering. The bill pays for itself and then some.

3) There are no enforcement mechanisms for the super-duper terrifying individual mandate. If you choose not to buy insurance when the mandate takes effect in 2014, and are consequently fined $695, there is no means of actually enforcing the payment of that penalty. No liens, levies, no jail, no Obamacare Goons swooping into your house like America-hating Kenyan ninjas. Nothing will happen to you. Nothing. So, you know, chill out about the mandate.

The question about “Obamacare,” then, is very simply: Why are the Republicans against reducing the deficit by $130 billion, and why are they against more accessible and affordable healthcare? I have no idea, other than they’re taking the childish opposite position of what was passed (despite the deficit reduction and subsidies for the middle class, etc.). Oh, and they call it “Obamacare,” which is spooky and one letter away from being “Osamacare.” Scary, but entirely without substance.

Oh, and speaking of the deficit, the Republicans are lying to voters about the Democratic handling of the deficit as well. It turns out the Democrats and the Obama administration cut the deficit this year. Cut it. The 2009 Bush-approved budget was $1.416 trillion and the 2010 Obama-approved budget was $122 billion less. Meanwhile, the Republicans are admitting to increasing the deficit by $4 trillion by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. And they won’t say what they plan to cut from the budget in order to pay for it. Once again, we’re back in the early Bush years with so-called fiscal conservatives engaged in big, irresponsible spending without any way to make up the shortfall.

Actually, the only spending cuts that appear to be on the table are the Social Security checks, the Medicare reimbursements and the veteran’s benefits that will stop when the Republicans gleefully shut down the government. (Any senior citizen who votes Republican is voting for their Social Security and Medicare checks to stop — indefinitely. Just thought I’d mention that.)

Circling back, it’s important to repeat: President Obama and the congressional Democrats cut the deficit. Fact: The first Obama budget was billions less than the final Bush budget. And, in the process, President Obama’s policies have pushed the DJIA from 6,000 to 11,000; his policies have turned Bush-era job losses into job creation; and pulled the nation from the brink of another Great Depression.

Again, why are the Republicans against all of this?

By the same token, why are they against the stimulus? They really won’t say other than to screech about how expensive it was. But, before we go further, read the paragraph about the deficit again. The Democrats cut the deficit. And then factor into the mix that $288 billion out of the $800 billion cost of the recovery act was composed entirely of tax cuts. Tax cuts! As a matter of history and taken as a lump sum, this was the largest American middle class tax cut ever. So it’s not a stretch to suggest that the Republicans are suddenly against the largest middle-class tax cut in American history.

Despite the attempt to turn a derivation of the positive word “stimulate” into a negative, there’s very little about the stimulus that actually sucked, other than the fact that it wasn’t big enough. Beyond that, Republican voters need to ask themselves if the tax cuts were bad — or maybe was it the new roads and infrastructure that helped to create jobs, or was it the money that was spent to keep the states out of bankruptcy and police, teachers and firemen from losing their jobs? What’s awful about any of that?

Then they need to ask themselves why Republican politicians like Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), along with dozens of other Republicans, actually petitioned and received from the Obama administration millions in stimulus dollars? Some of them evenposing with giant novelty stimulus checks and literally campaigning on the wads of money they received from the stimulus. Pete Sessions, in fact, wrote to Secretary Ray LaHood and emphasized that the funds would literally “stimulate the economy” in his district. Naturally, Sessions turned around and campaigned against the stimulus. He thinks you won’t notice.

Elsewhere, Newt Gingrich and others are trying to deceive voters by insisting that it’s “liberal math” for an investment to earn a return — for, say, a one dollar investment to grow into $1.74. Since when do Republicans believe that wise investments are “liberal math?” Specifically, Newt was talking about government spending on food stamps as a means of stimulating the economy. Based on simple math, one dollar in government money spent on food stamps creates $1.74 in economic stimulus, according to Moody’s. Why? Because food stamps help Americans to buy things. Whereas the Bush tax cuts, for example, are a poor investment, only earning 32 cents for every dollar spent. Why? Because rich people tend to save their tax cuts rather than pumping that money into the marketplace.

Back to our refrain: Why are the Republicans against smart investing?

Yeah, Obamacare and the Stimulus. Destroying America from within, right?

It’s worth noting here that this same Republican deception runs across other issues as well. Republicans are suggesting they’ll protect individual liberty, while shrinking government small enough to fit into your bedroom or your uterus. Or they’re running on the Constitution, while also having their hired thugs handcuff and detain a reporter in a flagrant violation of the First Amendment. Hell, some Republicans are running for U.S. Senate while opposing the 17th Amendment that established popular elections of senators. Wrap your head around that one.

Sure, there are still many things the Democrats have yet to unravel after 30 years of Reaganomics. But, despite their obvious faults, they’re moving in that direction. And they’re being as honest as politicians can be with their intentions. The Republicans, meanwhile, are running on some sort of Mobius Loop of backwards logic and flimsy, if not totally destructive, policy positions.

With less than two weeks to go, the sooner voters wise up to this Republican flimflam, the better off we’ll all be.

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see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/the-republican-swindle-ab_b_770692.html?view=print