More GOP Noise Machine contortions about swastikas and Hitler. (It's the gift that keeps on giving.)
Read this confused post, as another right-wing blogger (theblogprof) tries to explain away yet another Nazi poster. The claim here is that an African-American man holding a huge Hitler-Obama poster at a recent rally outside a town hall hosted by Democrat John Dingell was actually a Dingell supporter. i.e. The sign-holder was a Democratic plant sent to make the GOP look bad.
That's an explosive charge. What was the blogger's proof that the poster-holder was really a Democratic plant? Answer: A clip from Neil Cavuto's show where a health care critic made the claim on TV. (i.e. the guy was "part of the Dingell operation.") In other words, the whole story's built around an unconfirmed, second-hand claim.
But seriously, theblogprof must have additional proof that the man holding the Hitler-Obama poster and then handing out Dingell flyers was the same guy, right? There's no way theblogprof would hatch a conspiracy theory like that without photos and/or video to nail down his tall tale, right?
Ha! If you think that's the case than you don't read the right-wing blogs very often, because trust me, facts are optional.
But wait, it gets better. Because over at RedState, a writer zeroes in on the same Hitler-Obama poster at the same Dingell event and posts a video from Steve Gutowski who uncovers a completely different plot. According to Gutowski, the African-American sign-holder is actually a follower of nut ball Lyndon LaRouche. (Thank God!)
So how cool is that? Right-wing blog readers, desperate for political cover over the whole swastika thing, actually have a choice of how they can explain away the Hitler-Obama poster at the Dingell rally. They can choose Door No. 1, where theblogprof insists the sign was produced by a Dingell supporter; somebody who was was "part of the Dingell operation." Or they can pick Door No. 2, where a posted video at RedState claims the sign was produced by a LaRouche supporter. (How long until some blogger today claims the sign-holder was both a Dingell and LaRouche supporter?)
Like I've said, you can't make this stuff up.
UPDATED: My favorite laugh-out-loud part of the RedState post featuring the Gutowski video, which explains the sign-holder is a LaRouche supporter, is that right below the video RedState makes this contradictory claim [emphasis added]:
The Hitler sign at the Dingell town hall was carried by a Dingell supporter.
Can't RedState make up its mind?
And then, playing a right-wing game of telephone, RedState improve the "facts," and announces:
The Hitler sign at the Dingell town hall was carried by an OBAMACARE supporter.
Eyewitnesses caught this genius outside after the meeting HANDING OUT OBAMACARE MATERIALS.
C'mon RedState, read the (make believe) script. The guy was allegedly handing out Dingell materials, not Obama.
Picking up what the right-wing mob started yesterday, Foxnews.com posted an article about whether or not Obama "recognized" an 11-year-old girl who asked a question at his New Hampshire town hall forum this week. It's part of Michelle Malkin's pointless conspiracy theory about town hall's being stage.
The Fox headline [emphasis added]:
White House Says Girl With Campaign Ties Chosen at 'Random' to Speak at Obama Town Hall
OMG. The girl's in elementary school for crying out loud! How can she have "campaign ties"?? This is just demented.
The only "ties" are the fact that her mom was an Obama donor and supporter in 2008. In other words, her mom did what a few million other Americans did last fall, yet suddenly in the eyes of Fox News that means the woman's daughter has "campaign ties"? And for right-wing bloggers, that means the kid's fair game for ridicule?
UPDATED: As Bob Cesca noted, this kid crusade isn't just creepy. It's dangerous.
The CNN host recently welcomed Kenneth Gladney, the conservative who claims he was savagely beaten by union thugs after a St. Louis town hall forum last week where a GOP mini-mob raised a ruckus.
We wrote about Gladney over the weekend and how the YouTube clip of his "beating" actually shows him being pulled to ground for approximately two seconds before he jumped back up to his feet, apparently unharmed. In TV interviews Gladney's attorney seems to claim the real beating happened before the YouTube clip began. But none of the severe injuries Gladney later claimed he suffered were visible on the video which definitely captured the end of the scuffle.
Anyway, Dobbs hosted Gladney and his attorney, and while the attorney went on and on about how union thugs had kicked Gladney in the head and the side, Dobbs helpfully announced [emphasis added]:
Yeah, this video is pretty declarative as to the points that you're making that we're watching right now. I don't know whether you can see it. But obviously we and the audience are seeing it.
We in the audience were seeing Gladney get kicked in the head and side? Oh brother. Maybe that's what Dobbs saw in his fertile imagination. But what CNN viewers actually saw at that moment on their TV screens was tape of Gladney walking around looking relatively unharmed.
(h/t Crooks & Liars)
Yeah, it turns out LaRouche and his followers--not Republicans!--are responsible for all the Hitler-Obama posters found among the town hall mini-mobs. Or so says TWS.
It's fun to watch the GOP Noise Machine continues to tie itself into a pretzel over Rep. Nancy Pelosi's completely accurate claim that some mini-mob members were showing up with "swastikas and symbols like that." Right-wing bloggers and writers and have been whiffing at that pitch for days now.
Their latest line of defense has been, OK, some Nazi posters did appear at town halls (sorry, Rush), but they were planted by political opponents because conservatives would never (ever!) sink to such lows. And John McCormack, at least based on his Weekly Standard headline, seemed to have nailed the story down:
Video: Democrats Bring Obama-As-Hitler Signs to Town Halls
Couldn't be more clear, right? TWS had video proof that Democratic trolls had planted Hitler posters amidst the mini-mob members in order to make conservatives look bad. Scoop!
It turns out TWS had found a YouTube clip that report how followers of conspiracy nut ball Lyndon LaRouche brought Hitler-Obama signs to a town hall forum, and since LaRouche is a Democrat (who knew?), it's Democrats who are responsible for the Hitler-Obama signs. It's Democrats who think Obama is just like Hitler, so leave the mini-mobs alone.
(You can stop laughing now.)
But actually, even if you buy the comical idea that LaRouche's deluded followers are true Blue Staters (LaRouche has about as much cache among Democrats as Tony Zirkle does among Republicans; look it up), the YouTube video actually raises more troubling questions for the TWS crew. Because even though it purports to show LaRouche followers with a Hitler-Obama sign at a town hall gathering, the video also makes perfectly clear that none of the other mini-mob members objected. The Hitler-Obama sign fit right in among the mini-mob members.
If TWS's larger point were accurate, if conservatives would never (ever!) bring Nazi propaganda to an anti-Obama rally, than why weren't the LaRouche followers asked to leave or asked to destroy their signs? Indeed, have we seen a single report during all this mini-mob nonsense in which a one conservative confronted a Nazi-waving protesters and complained that the Hitler stuff was grotesque and out of bounds? Have any of the Nazi-waving protesters been shouted down or told to get lost by the mini-mob?
Indeed, has anyone at TWS denounced Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck for using Nazi rhetoric in recent days?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
Truth is, If the Noise Machine's going to try to rule by the mob, then it's going to get tarred by the same mob, no matter how many YouTube clips The Weekly Standard posts.
UPDATED: Wonkette has more.
Yesterday, TVNewser reported that CNN president Jon Klein "asked his show producers to avoid booking talk radio hosts." According to TVNewser, this was Klein's reasoning:
"Complex issues require world class reporting," Klein is quoted as saying, adding that talk radio hosts too often add to the noise, and that what they say is "all too predictable."
TVNewser writes that Lou Dobbs -- who hosts both a radio show and a CNN show -- is "presumably not affected by this."
First Andrea Mitchell attributed Hillary Clinton's response to a question in Congo to a "bad hair day," and now Tina Brown joins in with an over-the-top bit of psychobabble that also invokes Clinton's hair as an explanation:
And not only that, but (and I say this in solidarity, not belittlement) the African humidity had wreaked havoc on her hair. It had gone all flat and straight, which puts any woman in a bad humor. (Let's not forget: It was a sympathetic reference to the female-specific chore of keeping perfectly coiffed that made Hillary's eyes fill with tears back in New Hampshire.) Plus, the grueling State Department schedule means these days she can never get to the gym.
Believe it or not, that isn't any crazier than the rest of Brown's fevered imaginings.
And like Maureen Dowd, Brown expects us to believe that Hillary Clinton's response was caused in part by her annoyance at Bill Clinton celebrating his birthday "at such a fancy, high-priced restaurant as Craftsteak?" I'll say this again: Yes, Craftsteak is obscenely expensive, but I'm pretty sure the Clintons, worth tens of millions of dollars, can cover a dinner there.
Is there some of Mad-Libs book of pre-fabricated insanely speculative columns about the Clintons these people all picked up at a mid-1990s CPAC convention? If so, how was I not aware of it earlier?
Anyway, all of this crazytalk about flat hair and expensive steaks is as unnecessary as it is implausible. I'm not saying Clinton was right to respond the way she did -- but her response was perfectly understandable based on nothing more than the content of the question as it was relayed to her. There's really no need to invent some fantasy in which she was cranky because her husband sprung for the Kobe beef on his birthday.
Thanks to this 2003 USA Today puff piece on the "down-to-earth" co-hosts of Fox & Friends - the "hottest show on morning cable" - we today learned that you can't label Steve Doocy a conservative because "years ago" he supported "a man who favored universal health care":
Mirroring Fox News' overall style, the talk here is blunt. But the rap against Fox -- that it leans decidedly right politically -- is hard to attach to the hosts of F&F. Hill says she's a "primary-voting Democrat"; Doocy says the only time he got involved in politics, years ago in his native Kansas, was to support a man who favored universal health care. The candidate lost.
Six years later, the eerily prescient article still rings true -- it's just so "hard to attach" the conservative label to the guy who said he "supported" a candidate "years ago":
You may also remember that "primary-voting Democrat" E.D. Hill once asked if a fist bump between Michelle and Barack Obama was "a terrorist fist jab." (Hill is no longer employed by Fox but is available to do her Helen Thomas impersonation at birthdays and weddings).
Thanks to reader BJL for the tip.
In February, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore compared Social Security to "a big Ponzi scheme." Today, the AP's Tom Raum agreed, writing that the current Social Security system is "pretty much" a "giant federal Ponzi scheme":
As Congress agonizes over health care, an even more daunting and dangerous challenge is bearing down: how to shore up Social Security to keep it from burying the nation ever deeper in debt.
What to do about mushrooming government payments as millions of baby boomers retire? How about a giant federal Ponzi scheme? That might work for a while.
But wait. That's pretty much the current system. Social Security takes contributions from today's workers and uses them to pay the old-age benefits that were promised to retirees. But there are serious concerns how long that can last.
Although calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme - think of the huge frauds that sent billionaires Bernard Madoff and R. Allen Stanford to prison - may be a bit of a stretch, there is one clear similarity.
As in a Ponzi scheme, the concept works fine at first. So long as there are more new "investors" pumping money into the system to pay off the earlier ones, everyone is happy. But at some point not enough new money is coming in and the scheme collapses.
Raum then falsely asserted that according to the Social Security trustees, "Social Security will be completely depleted in 2037":
With baby boomers working, Social Security - the biggest social spending program - has produced a surplus that has helped finance the rest of the government for the past quarter century. But that will change within a decade.
Trustees of the system recently said that in 2016 - a year earlier than previously forecast - money paid out in benefits will start exceeding the tax dollars flowing in. With no changes, Social Security will be completely depleted in 2037, the trustees said.
What the trustees actually said in their May 2009 report was that the Social Security trust fund -- not Social Security itself -- will be completely depleted in 2037. And after that happens, according to the trustees, revenue from payroll taxes will be sufficient to pay about three-quarters of scheduled Social Security benefits through 2083:
Under the intermediate assumptions, the OASDI cost rate is projected to increase rapidly and first exceed the income rate in 2016, producing cash-flow deficits thereafter. Redemption of trust fund assets will allow continuation of full benefit payments on a timely basis until 2037, when the trust funds are projected to become exhausted. This redemption process will require a flow of cash from the General Fund of the Treasury. Pressures on the Federal Budget will thus emerge well before 2037. Even if a trust fund's assets are exhausted, however, tax income will continue to flow into the fund. Present tax rates are projected to be sufficient to pay 76 percent of scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion in 2037 and 74 percent of scheduled benefits in 2083.
In contrast to Raum, AP economics writer Martin Crutsinger made this clear in a May 13 article:
The trustees report projected that Social Security's annual surpluses would "fall sharply this year," then remain at a reduced level in 2010 and be lower in the following years than last year's projections. The report said that the Social Security annual surplus would be eliminated entirely in 2016, reflecting increased demands from the wave of 78 million baby boomers retiring.
That means Social Security will have to turn to its trust fund to make up the difference between Social Security taxes and the benefits being paid out beginning in 2016. The trustees projected the trust fund would be depleted in 2037, four years earlier than the 2041 date in last year's report.
At that point, the annual Social Security taxes collected would be enough to pay for three-fourths of current benefits through 2083. To tap the trust fund, the government would have to increase borrowing or raise taxes because Social Security bonds exist only as bookkeeping entries.
The print edition of the August 12 Washington Examiner contained a version of a Heritage Foundation chart purporting to offer a selected state-by-state breakdown of how an "independent analysis by the nonpartisan Lewin Group" showed that health-care reform "could shift 88 million Americans out of existing employer-based plans" and into the proposed public plan.
But the Examiner failed to note that the "nonpartisan" Lewin Group is owned by the insurance company UnitedHealth Group, which has a stake in not wanting people to switch from private insurance. Nor did the Examiner mention that, by contrast, the Congressional Budget Office found that only 2 million people would switch from employer coverage to the public plan.
Heritage didn't mention any of that either, of course -- but then, it commissioned the Lewin Group report.