Fox News and right-wing blogs have promoted a chart that purports to show the "alarming" fact that national debt per person is higher in the United States than in several crisis-stricken European countries. This comparison is flawed because these countries' economies are fundamentally different -- a fact demonstrated by the substantially higher interest rates that the crisis countries using the euro must pay on their debt, compared to countries that can borrow in their own currency.
The Washington Examiner blog Beltway Confidential put up a post yesterday reporting that President Obama's acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, worked at Bain & Company in the late 1980s. The Examiner suggested that this could "undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney's career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company."
This is a distortion. The criticism of Romney has focused on his work at Bain Capital, not his time at Bain & Company.
To be clear: Bain & Company is an entirely separate entity from Bain Capital. Bain & Company is a business consulting firm that was founded in 1973. Bain Capital is a private investment firm that was founded in 1984.
Bain & Company's website states:
Bain Capital was formed as a separate entity by former Bain consultants to further leverage Bain's results creation capability. Bain Capital is a venture capital company; it is not a sister company nor a division of Bain.
Romney's fellow Republican presidential candidates have been critical of his work at Bain Capital -- not at Bain & Company. From a blog post by ABC's George Stephanopoulos:
Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry calls his rival Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital a potentially "fatal flaw" which could imperil Republican chances to win back the White House in November.
Perry, who is trailing badly in the polls, spent the week attacking Romney as a "vulture capitalist," whose work at Bain allowed him to reap huge profits by dismantling companies and laying off workers.
Others in the right-wing media are blurring the distinction between the two Bain entities.
Since sexual harassment allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain have emerged, right-wing media figures have blamed a wide range of people and entities for the story's emergence, from the "Democratic machine" to the "liberal media" and even "the left-wing nutjobs at Media Matters."
In continuing to defend Herman Cain, the right-wing media have tried to connect one of Cain's accusers to the Obama administration. The Drudge Report said that the woman in question, Karen Kraushaar, "works in the Obama administration," while The Blaze said she "works for the Obama administration." However, Kraushaar also held positions in the federal government during both the Bush and Clinton administrations.
According to the story from The Daily that first named her publicly, Kraushaar has served in several government agencies:
Karen Kraushaar currently serves as a communications director at the Inspector General's Office of the Treasury Department, a position she has held since last year.
After the settlement, Kraushaar served as a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was a chief spokeswoman during one of the agency's most controversial immigration cases -- the custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban boy rescued at sea who was then held by Florida relatives against the will of his father in Cuba. The boy was eventually returned to his dad.
In 2003, Kraushaar was a communications specialist for the Tax Advocate Service, an independent arm within the Internal Revenue Service that helps impoverished taxpayers.
In addition, the head of the agency Kraushaar reportedly works for now, the Treasury Department inspector general's office, is a Bush appointee.
A Florida 4th grade vocabulary list including the words "boycott," "citizen," and "strike" is causing paroxysms over at the Blaze, with cries that the words demonstrate a sinister plot to "Occupy" classrooms with learning.
Citing a Blaze reader in Ft. Lauderdale, the site links to the following vocabulary list, asking "Is 'Occupy' movement creeping into the classroom?"
This stinging indictment of learning words comes hot on the heels of the Blaze discovering a Texas Spanish teacher daring to add Mexican culture to her language lessons.
The American Nazi Party put out a statement on Thursday that was supportive of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Rocky Suhayda, the party's chairman, said, "My heart is right there with these people."
On the Monday edition of Fox News' flagship "straight news" program Special Report, anchor Bret Baier also treated this endorsement as if it were significant:
Interesting fact about Suhayda: During the 2008 presidential campaign, he declared his preference for Barack Obama over John McCain.
"EXCLUSIVE," blares Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze, this morning as they blow the lid off a shocking story out of Texas:
BLAZE EXCLUSIVE: TX HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS MADE TO RECITE MEXICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM, PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The lede is no less gripping:
Students in a Texas public high school were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment, but the school district maintains there was nothing wrong with the lesson.
The story centers around a sophomore in said Spanish class who objected to the lesson and complained to the principal. This same student videotaped the students reciting the pledge and the anthem en español, thus providing the critical evidence that high school students in Texas are actually being taught things.
It's a huge story -- most of the country has been laboring under the false impression that Texas public schools are mere fronts for the dissemination of anti-knowledge, in which students are fed garbage like "intelligent design" and right-wing revisionist history in the name of learning. The Blaze has helped tear away this veil of misinformation by conclusively demonstrating that students in Texas schools are actually learning things of value, like second languages and the cultural heritage of their southern neighbor.
Equally shocking was The Blaze's revelation that the teacher is not only of Mexican descent, but is actually proud of her heritage and uses that pride to inform her teaching of Mexican culture:
When Brenda made clear she would not stand up and recite the pledge, she was given an alternative assignment: an essay on the history of the Mexican revolution.
Meanwhile, other students continued with their presentations, which took place over the course of several days.
When Brinsdon talked to Santos -- a first-year teacher at Achieve -- about her new assignment, the teacher told her she grew up in Mexico.
"She told me that she loved Mexico," Brinsdon said.
Let's all take a moment to thank Glenn Beck and The Blaze for not falling victim to conventional wisdom and actually reporting on the successes of the Texas education system and the pride and dedication of public school teachers working to improve young Americans' understanding of one of our most important allies.
Or, better yet: díganles "gracias."
The announcement that Sesame Street plans to introduce a Muppet named Lily, an impoverished girl whose family faces ongoing hunger issues, is prompting much snark and derision in the right-wing media.
For instance, The Blaze's blog had this to offer:
Uh-oh. It's time to redistribute Cookie Monster's cookies.
Question: When did Sesame Street become so focused on teaching societal issues? From Bert & Ernie's gay marriage fiasco, to Big Bird's birtherism and growing unemployment. What "injustice" might Mr. Snuffleupagus stand for?
One of my colleagues (who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) points out that "Snuffy" actually comes from a broken home and represents a lesson in divorce for kids. I had no idea.
Here's something else Barack Obama and democrats can be proud of.
With a record number of Americans on food stamps, record unemployment, increased debt and record poverty, Sesame Street will introduce a poor, starving muppet to educate on the growing number of starving children in Obama's America.
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama by seizing on his comment that America "had gotten a little soft." But Obama said that the United States is a "great country" and that he "wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth" because "[w]e still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world."
Right-wing media have attacked Michelle Obama for going shopping at Target, claiming she went " 'incognito,' Lady Gaga-style" and asking, "Who does she think she's fooling?" Right-wing media have previously attacked the first lady for everything from promoting health initiaitves to wearing a red dress at a state dinner.
Following an interview President Obama gave to a television station in Orlando, Florida, in which Obama praised the United States as "a great, great country that had gotten a little soft" and talked about things that can be done to improve upon the best system in the world, CNN contributor Erick Erickson took to Twitter to call him "a jerk."
Here are Obama's full comments from the interview with WESH anchor Jim Payne:
OBAMA: One of the reasons that I ran for president was that wages, incomes had flatlined at the same time that costs had gone up. I think that people had thought that opportunities had become more constricted for the next generation. And that's why making sure that we're revamping our education system; making sure that we've got world-class infrastructure; investing in basic science, and research, and technology; making sure that we are moving manufacturing back to the United States and that we are being tough with our trading partners -- making sure that they are not taking advantage of us -- I mean, there are a lot of things that we can do.
The way I think about it is, is that this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track, but I wouldn't trade our position with any other country on Earth. We still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world. We still have the most dynamic economic system in the world. So we just need to bring all those things together.
Obama sure comes off as an anti-American president here, doesn't he? He points out that the United States is a great country that could stand to be even greater with some improvement and he gets attacked not only by Erickson, but by The Drudge Report and Glenn Beck's The Blaze as well.
In her book, America by Heart, Sarah Palin described the United States as a great country that also has "flaws." Would Erickson call Palin a "jerk" for acknowledging that?
Right-wing media are mocking the Obama campaign's launch of a site called Attack Watch to fight smears against the president. Yet right-wing media have relentlessly pushed many smears about the president -- during and since the 2008 campaign -- including pushing the claim that he was not born in the United States, claiming he was educated in a madrassa, attacking his faith, and claiming the administration committed federal crimes.
Right-wing media have seized on a 2008 video of then-candidate Barack Obama, in which he criticized President Bush for adding $4 trillion to the debt, to accuse Obama of hypocrisy because $4 trillion in debt has also accumulated since Obama took office. However, this ignores the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected $1.2 trillion in deficit before Obama took office -- based entirely on Bush's actions and economic conditions -- and that wars, policies, and the economic downturn that all began under Bush continue to inflate the debt.
You might remember Penny Starr as the CNSNews.com reporter who tried to manufacture outrage over a gay-themed art exhibition at the Smithsonian last year. Now, she's upset by something she found on the Internet:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering advice to parents and teens about sex education, including assurances that teens may "experiment" with homosexuality as part of "exploring their own sexuality," and that masturbation should be of concern only "if a child seems preoccupied with it to the exclusion of other activities."
The information, located on a "Questions and Answers About Sex" link on the "Quick Guide to Healthy Living" portion of the HHS Web site, also describes children and infants as "sexual beings."
Under the question "When Do Kids Start Becoming Curious About Sex?" the answer notes that infants have curiosity about their bodies.
"Children are human beings and therefore sexual beings," the Q&A Web page says. "It's hard for parents to acknowledge this, just as it's hard for kids to think of their parents as sexually active. But even infants have curiosity about their own bodies, which is healthy and normal."
This sort of thing, of course, is catnip for the right-wing media, which have used Starr's article as a way to attack the Obama administration. The headline at Fox Nation blamed "Obama's HHS" for publishing this information; a LifeNews headline stated that "Obama Admin Pushes Sex on Kids." Even the version of Starr's article posted at NewsBusters -- like CNS, a division of the conservative Media Research Center -- carried the headline "Obama's HHS: 'Children Are Sexual Beings.'" The Blaze and Weasel Zippers are among the other right-wing websites that picked up on the story.
Right-wing media mocked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for stating that food stamps are "economic stimulus." In fact, experts agree that food stamps are one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus.